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Leukemia


Leukemia is a specific kind of cancer that affects the cells responsible for production of blood cells. In leukemic patients, blood cell count is abnormally high and the illness results in amplified production of dysfunctional blood cells. Leukemia is considered to be one of the most serious types of cancer.

The present day medical treatment methods are significantly improving the leukemia survival rates. Not long ago, back in the 1960s, a five year survival rate was just around 14 percent. Today, the survival rate is more than 40 percent. The causes of leukemia are yet unknown and many of ongoing studies are focused on the goal to determine what causes leukemia and to make it possible to cure and prevent the illness.

Classification

A several types of blood cancers fall under the general categories of leukemia. The classification is based on the type of affected blood cells. Acute leukemia distinguishes by a quick production of the cancerous blood cells while a chronic leukemia develops gradually. Types of leukemia are:

  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia – a condition that affects the lymphatic cells (a type of white blood cells). Most of the adult patients are diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – a condition that affects the myeloid cells and it is also the most frequent in adults.
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – affects the lymphocytic cells progressing rapidly. It is most frequent in children
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia – affects both children and adults, in myeloid cells, causing the rapid worsening in symptoms.

Survival rates

The average life expectancy of patients suffering from leukemia is five years after the diagnosis. Survival rates are projected based on whether a patient can live for five years or not. However, some patients can’t live for five years, even if they undergo treatment. Treatment is most commonly conducted with chemotherapy and medications. Physicians may sometimes even recommend bone marrow transplantation. It is crucial to understand that apart from the treatment options, the survival rate depends on many other factors, especially patient’s age and the type of leukemia patient suffers.

Children that suffer from Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia have about an 80 percent of chances to survive for five years after advocating chemotherapy. On the other hand, children suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia have a low survival rate, of less than 40 percent.

Adult patients suffering from leukemia have about an 40 percent of chances to achieve the five year survival rate, but, only after administration of chemotherapy drugs. On the other hand, the survival rates of adult patients suffering from Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia are somewhat lower – around 35 percent.

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