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How Do You Get Leukemia

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   3 min     


Leukemia is the cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. It usually involves the white blood cells. In Leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function properly leading to various complications.

Causes and risk factors:

The exact cause of leukemia is not known and it can occur to anyone. However, several risk factors have been found which increase the chances of developing leukemia. Some of the risk factors are: 

  • A family history of leukemia

  • Smoking also increases the risk of certain types of leukemia 

  • Genetic disorders 

  • Environmental factors like exposure to radiation 

  • Previous treatment of cancer with chemotherapy or radiation therapy

  • Blood disorders also increase the risk of leukemia

Classification of Leukemia:

Classification on the basis of its progress:

  • Acute Leukemia: In this, the abnormal blood cells are immature blood cells that can’t carry out their normal functions, and they multiply rapidly, so the disease worsens quickly.

  • Chronic Leukemia: There are many types of chronic leukemias. It involves more mature blood cells which accumulate or replicate more slowly and can function normally for a period of time.

Classification on the basis of the type of white blood cell affected:

  • Lymphocytic Leukemia:  It affects the lymphoid cells which form lymphoid or lymphatic tissue.

  • Myelogenous Leukemia: It affects myeloid cells. Myeloid cells give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet-producing cells.

Types of Leukemia:

  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL): It is very common in young children but it can also occur in adults.

  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML): It occurs in both children and adults.

  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): It is most common chronic adult leukemia. The person may feel well for years without needing treatment.

  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML): It mainly affects adults. The person may have few or no symptoms for months or years a phase in which the leukemia cells grow more quickly.


The common signs and symptoms of leukemia are:

  • Fever or chills

  • Persistent fatigue, weakness

  • Weight loss

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Recurrent nosebleeds

  • Tiny red spots on your skin

  • Excessive sweating

  • Bone pain

Diagnosis of leukemia:

The diagnosis of leukemia starts with physical examination if you have a few of the symptoms or risks. However, physical test alone is insufficient for the diagnosis of leukemia and hence various other diagnostic procedures are done like: 

  • Blood count test is done to determine the count of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets in the blood. The cells can also be observed under a microscope to look for abnormal appearance. 

  • Tissue biopsies of lymph nodes or bone marrow are also taken for diagnosis of leukemia. Biopsy of liver or spleen can be done to see if the cancer has spread. 

  • After diagnosis, staging is done to determine the outlook of the patient.   


  • Chemotherapy: It uses the chemical to kill leukemia cells.

  • Biological Therapy: It works by using treatments that help our immune system recognize and attack leukemia cells.

  • Targeted Therapy: It uses drugs that attack specific vulnerabilities within your cancer cells.

  • Radiation Therapy: It uses X-rays or other high-energy beams to damage leukemia cells and stop their growth.

  • Stem Cell Transplant:  It is the procedure to replace diseased bone marrow with a healthy bone marrow.

Tags:  cancer,

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