What effects happen during Leukemia?

What effects happen while having Leukemia? How do you die from it?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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    It depends on what type of leukemia a patient has. Some are chronic leukemias that may go on for years before diagnosis, and others are acute leukemias that must be diagnosed immediately and treated within the first 48 hours. The most common chronic leukemia are CLL and less common CML. Both chronic leukemias are most common in older adults and rare in children. Children, more often, are diagnosed with an acute leukemia - most commonly ALL. AML is more rare than ALL and also found mostly in people over the age of 50.

    I have met many children with ALL over the last 2 1/2 years but I know more about AML - the two are closely related. My 2 1/2 year old son E was diagnosed with a Wilms' Tumour as a newborn, won his battle, and was recently diagnosed with Secondary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). AML is related to ALL but is still quite different. His cancer is most likely a secondary cancer caused by the chemotherapy his first time when he fought Wilms. E somehow passed his screenings he has every 3 months back in October but in the end of November we started to notice he wasn't quite himself, and he was diagnosed December 19th.

    There are lots of symptoms of leukemia but each individual is different. Some display some symptoms while others display other ones. There's no actual tumour as in other cancers but leukemia is a cancer of the cells that create blood cells. E had a cold in November that he just couldn't kick. We took him to the doctor and he was given an antibiotic. He got a little better but as soon as he finished the antibiotic he got sick again. He usually has a couple bruises here and there since he is a 2 year old. His walking was greatly affected from one of the drugs in his first chemo cocktail so he trips and falls pretty often. But the bruising he had was more than usual - he bruised at the slightest bump. That's when we really knew something was wrong and took him to the doctor again. Once he was diagnosed we found out that his spleen and liver were enlarged - also symptoms of leukemia. Due to the extent of enlargement of his spleen, he had it removed after a round of chemotherapy. So far he has had 3 strong doses of induction chemo and 2 consolidation rounds, finishing his 3rd right now, and he's labeled as being in remission! He still has 3-5 rounds of consolidation chemo left just to make sure all of the cancerous cells are gone. He will also have a bone marrow transplant when a donor becomes available.

    He had some joint pain at the time of diagnosis. I have to say I didn't really think too much of the joint pain because he doesn't walk well due to one of the previous chemotherapy drugs he had - Vincristine. Because of Vincristine his leg muscles are weaker and he walks with "slapfoot" or "dropfoot" and he trips and falls fairly often. I figured his joint pain was because of falling but since his diagnosis I now see that it was probably because of the leukemia. On treatment he has had a significant amount of bone and joint pain, especially early on. When it's clear that he is in pain, he does get pain meds to help. I think the painkillers do help him but I think even then he does have some pain but duller than without painkillers.

    The most common cause of death in leukemia patients, and cancer patients overall, is septicemia/infection. During treatment the immune system is almost nonexistent and cannot fight off an infection. A leukemia diagnosis is absolutely not a death sentence. It's treatable but you have to keep in mind that it does take lives. I know many children and adults that have gone on to live completely normal lives after getting their No Evidence of Disease (NED) status. Sometimes a patient does relapse but it is absolutely possible that he or she can reach remission and eventually NED status.

    I hope this helped you out some. If you have any more questions feel free to email me (crazycanuckj@yahoo.ca) or IM me (crazycanuckj).

    Source(s): My 2 year old son is a warrior who beat a Wilms' Tumour and is currently battling Secondary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. http://www.caringbridge.com/visit/warrioreli
  • 1 decade ago

    Leaukemia is a cancer of the blood, so basically, when too many of your healthy blood cells become cancerous, you can die.

    There are many types of leaukemia though, and even though they are similar, they are not the same. Chronic and Acute leaukemias are the 2 main groups, the 2 are quite different. I had AML when I was younger (acute myeloid leaukemia) I have been in remission for a few years now

    The leaukemia itself isn't what causes most pain and discomfort, although of course it does some, chemotherapy is used to to treat leaukemia and it has many effects such as nausea, rashes, joint pain, hair loss etc

    When a patient has leaukemia, alot of care has to be made to ensure they are kept away from everyday bugs, something as simple as the cold can be fatal, as immune systems are weak

    Source(s): 15 year old leaukemia survivor
  • 1 decade ago

    Leukemia (British English: leukaemia) (Greek leukos λευκός, "white"; aima αίμα, "blood") is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterized by an abnormal proliferation (production by multiplication) of blood cells, usually white blood cells (leukocytes). Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases. In turn, it is part of the even broader group of diseases called hematological neoplasms. Leukemia is clinically and pathologically subdivided into several large groups. The first division is between its acute and chronic forms:

    Acute leukemia is characterized by the rapid increase of immature blood cells. This crowding makes the bone marrow unable to produce healthy blood cells. Immediate treatment is required in acute leukemia due to the rapid progression and accumulation of the malignant cells, which then spill over into the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body. Acute forms of leukemia are the most common forms of leukemia in children.

    Chronic leukemia is distinguished by the excessive build up of relatively mature, but still abnormal, white blood cells. Typically taking months or years to progress, the cells are produced at a much higher rate than normal cells, resulting in many abnormal white blood cells in the blood. Whereas acute leukemia must be treated immediately, chronic forms are sometimes monitored for some time before treatment to ensure maximum effectiveness of therapy. Chronic leukemia mostly occurs in older people, but can theoretically occur in any age group.

    Additionally, the diseases are subdivided according to which kind of blood cell is affected. This split divides leukemias into lymphoblastic or lymphocytic leukemias and myeloid or myelogenous leukemias:

    In lymphoblastic or lymphocytic leukemias, the cancerous change takes place in a type of marrow cell that normally goes on to form lymphocytes, which are infection-fighting immune system cells.

    In myeloid or myelogenous leukemias, the cancerous change takes place in a type of marrow cell that normally goes on to form red blood cells, some other types of white cells, and platelets.

    Combining these two classifications provides a total of four main categories:

    Four major kinds of leukemia Cell type Acute Chronic

    Lymphocytic leukemia

    (or "lymphoblastic") Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

    Myelogenous leukemia

    (also "myeloid" or "nonlymphocytic") Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

    Within these main categories, there are typically several subcategories. Finally, hairy cell leukemia and T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia are usually considered to be outside of this classification scheme.

    Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of leukemia in young children. This disease also affects adults, especially those age 65 and older. Standard treatments involve chemotherapy and radiation. The survival rates vary by age: 85% in children and 50% in adults.[1] Subtypes include precursor B acute lymphoblastic leukemia, precursor T acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Burkitt's leukemia, and acute biphenotypic leukemia.

    Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) most often affects adults over the age of 55. It sometimes occurs in younger adults, but it almost never affects children. Two-thirds of affected people are men. The five-year survival rate is 75%.[2] It is incurable, but there are many effective treatments. One subtype is B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia, a more aggressive disease.

    Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) occurs more commonly in adults than in children, and more commonly in men than women. AML is treated with chemotherapy. The five-year survival rate is 40%.[3] Subtypes of AML include acute promyelocytic leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, and acute megakaryoblastic leukemia.

    Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) occurs mainly in adults. A very small number of children also develop this disease. Treatment is with imatinib (Gleevec) or other drugs. The five-year survival rate is 90%.[4][5] One subtype is chronic monocytic leukemia.

    Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is sometimes considered a subset of CLL, but does not fit neatly into this pattern. About 80% of affected people are adult men. There are no reported cases in young children. HCL is incurable, but easily treatable. Survival is 96% to 100% at ten years.[6]

    T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) is a very rare and aggressive leukemia affecting adults; somewhat more men than women are diagnosed with this disease.[7] Despite its overall rarity, it is also the most common type of mature T cell leukemia;[8] nearly all other leukemias involve B cells. It is difficult to treat, and the median survival is measured in months.

    Large granular lymphocytic leukemia may involve either T cell or NK cells; like hairy cell leukemia, which involves solely B cells, it is a rare and indolent (not aggressive) leukemia.

    [edit] Symptoms

    Damage to the bone marrow, by

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