LEUKEMIA

Overview - What is Leukemia?

Hear the name cancer and it starts sending chills down one’s spine. In simple terms, cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Any part of our body can contact cancer. One such dreaded types of cancer can develop in the blood and bone marrow. This is called Leukemia. While normal blood contains red blood, white blood cells and platelets, in the case of Leukemia, the cancer cells out number all the other cells, spill into our blood stream and spread across our entire body.

What are the symptoms and signs of Leukemia?

MThe symptoms of Leukemia may vary based on the types of Leukemia, which can be classified into 4 different types:
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) :
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia(ALL) : observed in children and adults
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) : observed in older adults
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) : also observed in older adults
Symptoms of Leukemia are likely to vary indicating the possibilities of developing any of the above 4 types and include:
  • Acute tiredness and weakness
  • Change in the colour of the skin
  • Fever without chills
  • Bleeding through nose and gums
  • Joint pains
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, groin or stomach
  • Enlarged spleen or liver.
  • Infections occurring at regular intervals
  • Immediate and sudden loss of weight
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Shortness of breath.

How does Leukemia develop? How does Leukemia affect the body?

Leukemia is the cancer of blood and bone marrow. When the stem cells in the bone marrow begin to multiply, they develop into the different types of blood cells, present normally in the body; red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. However in a patient with Leukemia, the development of these cells loses direction and goes out of control. This is when the Leukemia cells or cancer cells take control of the space in the bone marrow.

Unlike some of the other types of cancers, Leukemia is more dangerous as the cancer cells can easily enter the blood stream and spread all across the body. This destroys the ability of normal blood cells to develop and enter the blood stream.

How is Leukemia Diagnosed?

Based on the symptoms presented, your oncologist might like to take a closer look at you by suggesting the following tests.
  • Physical exam
  • Complete Blood Count and peripheral smear.
  • Bone Marrow Biopsy ( should the above three tests show acute variations)
  • Imaging tests ( not required in acute Leukemias)

How is Leukemia Treated?

Subsequent to your tests and the diagnosis, a treatment plan will be developed specifically for you. Based on complexity of the situation, your doctors may suggest a plan that may contain either one or many of the different types of treatments as mentioned below.
Your treatment depends on your age, overall health, type of Leukemia and other unique features of the Leukemia. Your healthcare team will determine a treatment plan they hope will be most beneficial for you. To understand more about Leukemia and how to deal with it, feel free to connect with our experts at Haematology and BMT Institute.

MEET OUR DOCTOR

With a renowned experience of 15 years, Dr. SK Gupta’s time in the field is the backbone of the Institute. Having started out as a medical student he eventually sprouted to performing over 250 bone marrow transplants to those suffering from blood disorders.
But his expertise does not end here.

He is specialised in various other arrays including Leukemia, Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Aplastic Anemia, Thalassemia and Sickle cell diseases, Hemophagocytic syndromes and so on.

An ongoing struggle globally is treating patients on time and Dr. SK Gupta’s morale hits exactly that very spot! He has dealt with cases where adults have been affected by the same by following his principle of giving timely treatment.