Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. Also, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is a cancer that starts from the initial version of white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of the bones where new blood cells are made).
Leukemia cells usually invade the blood fairly quickly. They can then spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and testes (in males). Other cancers can also start in these organs and then spread to the bone marrow, but these cancers are not leukemia .
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The term “acute” means that leukemia can progress rapidly and, if left untreated, will likely be fatal within a few months. Lymphocytic means that it develops from early (immature) forms of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. This is different from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which develops in other types of blood cells found in the bone marrow. So, check out now Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments:
What is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow – the spongy tissue inside the bones where blood cells are made. The word “acute” in Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia comes from the fact that the disease progresses quickly and creates immature rather than mature blood cells. The word “lymphocytic” in Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia refers to the white blood cells called lymphocytes, which ALL affect.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia is also known as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children, and treatments result in a good chance of cure. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia can also occur in adults, although the chance of a cure is greatly reduced.
Causes of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA. The errors say that the cell keeps growing and dividing, when a healthy cell normally stops dividing and eventually dies. When this happens, the production of blood cells becomes abnormal.
The bone marrow produces immature cells that develop into leukemic white blood cells called lymphoblasts. These abnormal cells are unable to function properly, and they can create and expel healthy cells.
It is unclear what causes the DNA mutations that can lead to Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia . But doctors have found that most cases of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia are not hereditary.
Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Signs and symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia can include:
- blood from the gums
- bone pain
- frequent infections
- Frequent or severe nosebleeds
- Lumps caused by swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, abdomen, or groin
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breathe
- Weakness, fatigue, or a general decrease in energy
- Make an appointment with your doctor or your child’s doctor if you notice any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.
Many signs and symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia mimic those of the flu . However, the signs and symptoms of the flu eventually improve. If signs and symptoms do not improve as expected, make an appointment with your doctor.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Risk Factors: Factors that can increase your risk of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia include:
- Previous cancer treatment. Children and adults who have had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other types of cancer may be at an increased risk of developing Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia .
- Radiation exposure. People exposed to very high levels of radiation, such as survivors of a nuclear reactor accident, are at an increased risk of developing Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia .
- Genetic disorders. Certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, are associated with an increased risk of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia .
- Having a brother or sister with EVERYONE. People who have a sibling, including a twin, with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia are at an increased risk of ALL.
Diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Tests and procedures used to diagnose Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia include:
- Bloodtests. Blood tests may reveal too many white blood cells, not enough red blood cells, and not enough platelets. A blood test can also show the presence of blast cells – immature cells normally found in the bone marrow.
- Bone marrow test. During bone marrow aspiration, a needle is used to remove a sample of bone marrow from the hipbone. The sample is sent to a lab for testing to look for leukemia cells. Doctors in the lab will classify blood cells into specific types based on size, shape, and other features. They also look for certain changes in the cancer cells and determine whether the leukemic cells started from B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes. This information helps your doctor develop a treatment plan.
- Image tests. Imaging tests, such as an x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, or ultrasound, can help determine whether the cancer has spread to the brain and spinal cord or other parts of the body.
- Spinal fluid test. A lumbar puncture test, also called a spinal twist, may be used to take a sample of spinal fluid — the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The sample is tested to see if the cancer cells have spread to the spinal fluid.
Treatments for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: In general, treatment for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia falls into separate phases:
- Induction therapy. The goal of the first phase of treatment is to kill most leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow and restore normal blood cell production.
- Consolidation therapy. Also called post-remission therapy, this phase of treatment is designed to destroy any leukemia remaining in the body, such as in the brain or spinal cord.
- Maintenance therapy. The third phase of treatment prevents the leukemic cells from regenerating. The treatments used at this stage are usually given at much lower doses over a longer period of time, often years.
- Preventive treatment for the spinal cord. During each phase of therapy, people with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia may receive additional treatment to kill leukemia cells located in the central nervous system. In this type of treatment, chemotherapy drugs are often injected directly into the fluid covering the spinal cord.
Depending on your situation, treatment phases for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia can last from two to three years. Treatments can include:
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells, is typically used as induction therapy for children and adults with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia . Chemotherapy drugs can also be used in the consolidation and maintenance phases.
- Targeted drug therapy. Targeted drugs target specific abnormalities present in cancer cells that help them grow and thrive. A certain abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome is found in some people with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia . For these people, targeted drugs can be used to attack cells that contain this abnormality. Targeted drugs include imatinib (Gleevec), dasatinib (Sprycel), nilotinib (Tasigna), and blinatumomab (Blincyto). These drugs are only approved for people with the Philadelphia chromosome positive form and can be taken during or after chemotherapy.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams, like X-rays, to kill cancer cells. If cancer cells have spread to the central nervous system, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. Stem cell transplantation. A stem cell transplant can be used as a consolidation therapy in people at high risk of relapse or to treat relapse when it occurs. This procedure allows someone with leukemia to restore healthy stem cells by replacing leukemic bone marrow with leukemia -free marrow. of a healthy person. A stem cell transplant starts with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation to destroy any leukemia-producing bone marrow. The marrow is then replaced with bone marrow from a matched donor (allogeneic transplant).
- Clinical trials. Clinical trials are experiments to test new cancer treatments and new ways to use existing treatments. While clinical trials give you or your child the chance to try the latest cancer treatment, the treatment’s benefits and risks can be uncertain. Discuss the benefits and risks of clinical trials with your doctor.
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Alternative Medicine: Alternative treatments have not been proven to cure Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia . But some alternative therapies can help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment and make you or your child more comfortable. Discuss your options with your doctor, as some alternative treatments can interfere with cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. Alternative treatments that can relieve the symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia include:
- relaxation exercises