Leukemia is a sort of
cancer that is involved in the body's blood creating system.
Leukemia is either acute (coming on suddenly) or chronic (lasting a
long time). Chronic leukemia rarely affects children, while acute
leukemia affects both adults and children.
Early symptoms of leukemia are like symptoms of the flu or other
common diseases. Symptoms include:
Aches in bones or joints
Swollen glands (lymph nodes)
Unexplained weight loss
Bleeding or swelling of gums
An enlarged spleen or liver, or a feeling of abdominal fullness
Slow healing cuts, nosebleeds or frequent bruises
marrow biopsy (a sample of bone marrow is removed and examined)
blood tests to detect the presence of abnormal cells
for genetic abnormalities
to prevent most forms of leukemia
relatives of people with leukemia should follow a normal schedule
of routine physical exams, unless suspicious symptoms develop
on the stage of the disease, as well as on the person's age and
I or II, observation or chemotherapy is the usual treatment
III or IV, intensive chemotherapy or multiple drug chemotherapies
may be used
people also may be treated with a bone marrow transplant
called Gleevec has become standard therapy for those in the early
stage of this disease
For chronic lymphoid leukemia, the next step after diagnosis is to
determine the extent of the cancer. This is called staging. There
are four stages of chronic lymphoid leukemia:
Stage 0 — There are too many lymphocytes in the blood. Generally,
there are no other symptoms of leukemia.
Stage I — Lymph nodes are swollen because of too many lymphocytes in
Stage II — Lymph nodes, spleen and liver are swollen as a result of
an overabundance of lymphocytes.
Stage III — Anemia has developed because there are too few red blood
cells in the blood.
Stage IV — There are too few platelets in the blood. Lymph nodes,
spleen and liver may be swollen. Anemia may be present.