What is leukaemia?

The cancer of the blood-forming structures is known as leukaemia. These structures include – the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. The condition primarily involves the white-blood, disease-fighting cells. And those affected by leukaemia produce abnormal white blood cells, that fail to perform adequately and thereby have a lower threshold of immunity.

Various forms of this disease are known to exist, with some of them more prevalent amongst children while the others are persistent in adults. Leukaemia could be either an acute form – spreading rapidly, or a chronic one – spreading at a less rate.

What are the causes & risk factors of leukaemia?

The exact causes for leukaemia are not yet known, but there are various risk factors that increase the risk of this condition. These include:

  1. Previous cancer treatment
  2. Genetic disorders
  3. Excessive smoking
  4. Hereditary factors
  5. Exposure to certain chemicals

What are the signs & symptoms of leukaemia?

The symptoms of leukaemia can be often non-specific and vague, which means it becomes difficult to accurately identify the disease based on its signs and symptoms alone – at least in the early stages. Some of the common signs of leukaemia include:

  1. Fever and chills
  2. Excessive weakness & fatigue
  3. Unintended weight loss
  4. Recurrent nose bleeds
  5. Excessive sweating
  6. Pain in the bones
  7. Severe and frequent infections

How can we prevent leukaemia?

Most of the causes or risk factors of leukaemia are non-modifiable factors, which means that it is very difficult to predict how to prevent the condition. Some of the modifiable factors which help prevent leukaemia include – limiting exposure to leukaemia causing carcinogens in the environment, being very cautions during existing cancer treatments, keeping weight in check and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What are the treatment options for leukaemia?

Treatment for leukaemia is incumbent upon the type of leukaemia and the possibility of it having spread to other parts of the body. Some of the common treatment modalities include:

  1. Chemotherapy
  2. Biological therapy
  3. Targeted drugs
  4. Radiation therapy
  5. Stem cell transplant

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