Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow. This disease is characterized by increase of the white blood cells. There are many different types of leukemia, and this is only a broad term covering many different diseases. These diseases usually affect the adults. About 245,000 people in the United States are affected with some form of leukemia. There are about 44,270 new cases of leukemia in the United States, each year. Leukemia alone comprises for about 2.9% of all cancers in the United States. Only about 3% cancer diagnoses among adults are for leukemia, but about 90% of all leukemia are diagnosed in adults. Here is a quick review on different types of leukemia.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is characterized by a large number of lymphoblasts. These are immature white blood cells that multiply inside of the bone marrow. These cells are malignant and unable to function normally. As their production continues, they are starting to crowd out normal cells in the bone marrow and starting to infiltrate other organs. It usually affects children and it is fatal in a couple of weeks if left untreated.
Acute myelogenous leukemia
This is a cancer of myeloid line of blood cells. In this disease the white blood cells accumulate in the bone marrow and obstruct the production of normal blood cells. This rare disease accounts for about 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States. In this type of leukemia, normal bone marrow is replaced with leukemic cells, which results in a severe drop of red blood cells, platelets and healthy functional white blood cells. People affected by acute myelogenous leukemia are usually extremely fatigued, suffer from shortness of breath and are prone to easy bruising and infections. Patients’ five-year survival varies from 15–70%.Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
This disease is also known as B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This is the most common type of leukemia that affects the B cell lymphocytes. These cells are created in bone marrow, mature in lymph nodes, and serve to produce antibodies and help the body fight infections. In the course of disease, B cells may grow out of control and crow out healthy blood cells. It usually affects adults and prognosis depends on the exact type of the disease. The overall 5-year survival rate is somewhere around 50%.Chronic myelogenous leukemia
This is a cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by increased growth of predominantly myeloid cells in the bone marrow. It occurs mainly in adults. This disease is associated with an overall survival rate of 89% after five years.