Leukemia, more than any other cancer, strikes children as its primary victim. Many adults will experience a recurrence but most first-time diagnoses are made on children. This is the most deadly, least treatable and most common type of cancer across the globe. Part of the reason that the prognosis for leukemia patients is not quite positive is that it is cancer of the blood cells. Unfortunately, this means that the cancer will necessarily circulate throughout the body unless it is eliminated completely.
Bone marrow transplants are the most effective method of treatment, but only when a suitable match for the patient can be found.
Leukemia attacks the leukocytes (white cells), erythrocytes (red cells) and thrombocytes (platelets) that make up human blood. What happens is that the cancer attacks the cells, and the other cell counts will rise significantly. The raised blood count is generally the white cells, which try to fight of the affected rogue red cells. Because the white count continues to rise over time, a simple blood test will show the presence of leukemia in most cases.
When the body is producing mutated blood cells as a result of Leukemia, nomal healthy blood cells are unable to grow properly, as there are so many of the rogue cells. Thus, it is imperative to find a treatment that will reduce the harmful cells in order to enable the body to heal.
What causes leukemia?
Nothing has happened to allow determination of the exact cause of Leukemia. However, exposure to high amounts of radiation is thought to have caused several cases in the past. Children born with Down ‘s syndrome are much more likely to develop Leukemia than genetically normal children. Those who are in these high-risk categories should have regular blood work as part of a plan to reduce their risk of developing undetected Leukemia.
Other treatment options for Leukemia will include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. There is no surgical treatment option. However, the best possible treatment is a bone marrow transplant from a sibling or other genetic match.