Leukemia is a life-threatening cancer of the body’s blood that affects the patient’s white blood cell production. This disease is defined by a faulty DNA mutation in the stem cells causing excessive amounts of white blood cells to be produced. White blood cells are crucial for our immune system, helping us fight disease and infections, people with Leukemia are unable to do this as overproduction of white blood cells causes them to become less effective and immature. These faulty cells can impact others like red blood cells and palates resulting in the Leukemia symptoms listed below.
Risk factors of Leukemia
Although Leukemia is known to be a biological genetic mutation there are other environmental factors that trigger this deadly disease. This is especially true for people already with blood diseases such as myelofibrosis as they are more prone to developing Leukemia as well as people undergoing cancer therapies like chemotherapy as the radiation triggers the onset of Leukemia. Any exposure to harmful chemicals can trigger symptoms involved in petrol and used in cigarettes which explains why a large number of smokers develop Leukemia. People with genetic disorders such as those with Down Syndrome are more at risk.
Symptoms of Leukemia
- ‘washed out’ complexion
- Extreme fatigue
- Pain of the joints
- Easily bruised
- Frequent and abnormal bleeding
- Extreme weight loss
- Continuous sweating
- High temperature
These symptoms and many others become more severe over time and one should seek medical treatment as soon as these signs are spotted.
Monumental progress has been made in the treatment of Leukemia, with thousands surviving this cancerous disease. One successful treatment is intensive chemotherapy where the patient is given a high amount to kill the cancerous cells in the body and prevent the disease from spreading. The power of this treatment is extensive and not advised for patients with poor health. This intensive treatment involves multiple blood transfusions and medication injections. After this tiresome period, consolidation takes place after the patient feels recovered from the intensity of chemotherapy and receives medication over several months. Alternative treatments are available for patients who cannot commit to such intense therapy or are physically unable to. Non-intensive chemotherapy is a perfect alternative for weaker and older patients as it is a subtle version to help treat symptoms of those who are not as fit and involves fewer side effects listed below in detail.
Depending on the type of chemotherapy drug used to treat patients, different side effects occur, most common physical side effects for the patients are hair loss, nausea, and vomiting. Other side effects can be extremely dangerous for the patient, as their white blood cells are low during the treatment this makes patients more vulnerable to infection due to their lack of an effectively working immune system. To deal with this serious effect patients and doctors have to be strictly hygienic to avoid catching unwanted germs that could cause severe issues.