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leukemia 11


Leukemia is a broad term of cancer of the blood cells . The type of leukemia depends on the type of blood cells that becomes cancer and whether it grows quickly or slowly


Symptoms vary depending on the type of leukemia. Common signs and symptoms include

  • Fever and chills
  • Persistent fatigue ,weakness
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Swollen lymph nodes enlarged liver or spleen
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Recurrent nose bleeds
  • Tiny red spots in your skin
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Bone pain or tenderness


Leukemia is broadly categorized as acute or chronic. Acute Leukemia are more aggressive and involve immature blood cells where chronic leukemia tend to develop more slowly and involve mature blood cells. Leukemia is further classified by the type of cells that are affected.

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia


  • A genetic predisposition
  • Downs syndrome
  • Human lymphotropic virus
  • Exposure to petro chemicals
  • Extensive exposure to artificial radiations
  • Tobacco use
  • Use of certain hair dyes


  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia- staged based  of type of lymphocyte and  the maturity of the cells
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia- staged using the French-American -British system ,which takes into account the number of healthy blood cells , the size and number of leukemia cells the changes in the chromosomes of the leukemia cells and other abnormalities
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia-Staged using the Rai system which considers 3 main factors , the number of lymphocytes in the blood, the degree of lymph node ,spleen, or liver enlargement and the presence of anemia or thrombocytopenia
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia- Staged based on the number of diseased cells found in blood and bone marrow tests


Common treatment to fight leukemia include

  • Chemotherapy- it is the major form of treatment for leukemia. Depending on the type of Leukemia you have , you may receive a single drug or a combination of drugs
  • Targeted therapy- It focus on specific abnormalities present within cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy- You may receive radiation  in one specific area of your body where there is collection of leukemia cells or may receive radiation over your whole body
  • Bone marrow transplant- Prior to bone marrow transplant , you receive very high doses of chemo therapy or radiation therapy to destroy your leukemia producing cells
  • Immuno therapy – Immuno therapy uses your immune system to fight cancer . Your body’s disease fighting immune system may not attack your cancer cells produce proteins that help them hide from the immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by interfying with that process


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Prepared by: Dr Sajna Hamza

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