What is leukemia and why does it occur?
Leukemia is actually a type of cancer that occurs in theblood forming tissues, which include bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Whiteblood cells are usually the location in which leukemia starts, and since theyare important for the immune system and for fighting against infections, inpeople with leukemia they don’t function properly. There are several types ofthis cancer, and some of them are more typical of children, while others aremore typical of adults.
According to the statistical records, this seriousdisease affects almost 30,000 adults and 2,000 children each year.
Also,leukemia can be classified as acute or chronic, depending on how quickly itprogresses. As for the causes, they are still not very clear to scientists, butit seems that besides genetics, certain environmental factors make people moreprone to developing leukemia. Among such factors are exposure to radiation, workwith particular dangerous chemicals, and medical treatment that includes chemotherapyor radiation.
What leukemia symptoms can be expected in adults?
When it comes to the symptoms that may indicate the presenceof leukemia, the earliest ones refer to the results of the blood tests, sincethe number of abnormal blood cells is increased, level of white blood cells istoo high, levels of platelets is low, as well as levels of hemoglobin. This furtherleads to fever, tiredness, susceptibility to various infections, easy bleedingand bruising, loss of appetite and weight, pain in the joints or bones, andtiny red spots that form under the skin.
Other symptoms may consist of nightsweats, headaches, swelling in the abdomen, swelling of the lymph nodes, particularlythose in the neck, groin, armpits, and stomach. Due to the similarity of somesymptoms to the symptoms of a common flu, they tend to be overlooked, whichonly worsens the condition and delays the diagnosis.
Still, if the diseaseis diagnosed at an early stage, which also requires the symptoms to be noticedat an early stage, the chances to cure leukemia are much better, whichemphasizes the importance of not neglecting the symptoms. The only sure way tocheck if the disease has spread to the bone marrow is to do the biopsy, whilelab tests may help in checking whether the kidneys or liver are affected. The laterthe disease is discovered the worse the chances for the successful treatment are.