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