Leukemia

Leukemia

You may be surprised to find that leukemia isnt just one type of cancer but actually a category of multiple cancers that affect our blood cells. Both children and adults can be diagnosed with these cancers, which cause our bone marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells. These abnormal cells, called leukemic cells, can accumulate in the bone marrow and blood, crowding out any healthy white blood cells. The white blood cells exist to fight infection and disease. The leukemic cells also harm our platelets, which protects us from bleeding out, and the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies. Leukemia can progress either rapidly (acutely) or slowly (chronically). Depending on its progression and the type of cell it affects, a leukemia diagnosis can fall into four broad categories. Regardless of the type, infection, anemia and bleeding are common effects of this cancer.

Recently Answered

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    Sometimes, leukemia and/or its treatment can affect your physical functioning and energy. For instance, some leukemia treatments may cause fatigue and/or peripheral neuropathy (pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet), which can affect your ability to participate in your normal activities. Oncology rehabilitation can help in the following ways:
    • Overcome physical deficits (e.g., difficulty walking).
    • Reduce pain.
    • Alleviate muscle discomfort.
    • Improve strength and endurance.
    • Promote coordination.
    • Resolve swallowing difficulties.

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    Many leukemia patients experience bone or joint pain that results from the bone marrow being overcrowded with leukemia cells. Sometimes the side effects of leukemia treatments can result in pain. For example, some drug therapies and radiation therapy can damage the nerves and cause neuropathic pain.

    Because of the complex nature of leukemia-related pain, successful cancer pain management usually involves a combination of techniques. To control pain, your team may use any of the following:
    • Medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-convulsants, narcotics)
    • Nerve blocks
    • Pain patches or pumps
    • Steroid injections
    • Acupuncture
    Throughout your treatment, your leukemia pain management practitioner will reassess your pain and modify your plan accordingly.

    Sometimes, pain medications can make you feel sedated and fatigued. Your pain management practitioner will adjust your medications to seek a balance between pain relief and quality of life. The goal is to help you achieve cancer pain control so you can fight the disease, while continuing to participate in activities you enjoy.
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    The following are some of the oncology rehabilitation therapies you may incorporate into your leukemia treatment:
    • Physical therapy: This type of oncology rehab combines range-of- motion training with light resistance exercises to help alleviate breathing problems, improve appetite, relieve constipation, reduce stress and increase energy.
    • Occupational therapy: These therapies can help you perform daily living activities, such as grooming, dressing, showering and eating, so you can continue to live as independently as possible.
    • Auriculotherapy: This non-invasive technique, which involves an electrical stimulation to the external ear, can help alleviate side effects, such as balance problems, nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue.
    • ReBuilder: This form of oncology rehab involves an electronic stimulation to an affected area (such as the hands and feet) to increase tactile sensory and awareness, can help improve peripheral neuropathy.
    • Massage therapy: This type of touch therapy can help restore a sense of harmony, relaxation and well-being during leukemia treatment.
    • Interactive metronome: This series of computer-generated sounds to measure a rhythmic beat and response can be used to increase concentration and improve balance, function and cognition during leukemia treatment.
    • Speech and language pathology: Some leukemia treatments may cause dry mouth or difficulty swallowing, which can limit your ability to eat. A speech therapist will work with other members of your care team to address these problems.
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    Most cancers are staged based on the size and spread of tumors. However, because leukemia already occurs in the developing blood cells within the bone marrow, leukemia staging is a little bit different. The stages of leukemia are often characterized by blood cell counts and the accumulation of leukemia cells in other organs, like the liver or spleen.

    Leukemia stages vary based on disease type. Some of the leukemias may be broken out into subtypes during the staging process.

    The acute types of leukemia (AML and ALL), are sometimes staged based on the type of cell involved and how the cells look under a microscope. This is called the French-American-British (FAB) classification system.

    Lymphocytic leukemias (CLL and ALL) occur in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. The white blood cell count at the time of diagnosis may be used to help stage the leukemia. Likewise, staging for myeloid leukemias (CML and AML) is based on the number of myeloblasts (immature white blood cells) found in the blood or bone marrow.

    The following are factors affecting leukemia staging and prognosis:
    • White blood cell or platelet count
    • Age (advanced age may negatively affect prognosis)
    • History of prior blood disorders
    • Chromosome mutations or abnormalities
    • Bone damage
    • Enlarged liver or spleen
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    Fatigue: Leukemia can cause individuals to have too few red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Anemia can make the individual feel tired by decreasing the number of red blood cells that can carry oxygen to tissues. Treatment for leukemia, such as with chemotherapy, can also cause a drop in red blood cells, leading to fatigue.

    Excess bleeding: Blood cells called platelets help control bleeding by prompting the blood to clot. A shortage of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) can result in easy bleeding and bruising, including frequent or severe nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums, or tiny red marks caused by bleeding into the skin.

    Pain: Leukemia can cause bone pain or joint pain as the bone marrow expands when excess white blood cells build up.

    Enlarged spleen: Some of the extra blood cells produced when an individual has leukemia are stored in the spleen, causing the spleen to become swollen or enlarged. Rarely, the spleen becomes so large that it is at risk of bursting. More commonly, the swollen spleen takes up space in the abdomen and makes the individual feel full even after small meals or causes pain on the left side of the body below the ribs and difficulty breathing.

    Infection: White blood cells help the body fight off infection. Although individuals with leukemia have too many white blood cells, these cells are often leukemic (damaged) and do not function properly. As a result, they are not able to fight infection as well as healthy white cells can. In addition, treatment can cause the white cell count to drop too low (neutropenia), also making individuals vulnerable to infection.

    Metastasis: Metastasis is the movement or spreading of cancer cells from one organ or tissue to another. Leukemic cells in the blood can deposit into organs and tissues, such as the brain and spine, causing further cancer development.

    Death: If leukemia cannot be successfully treated, it ultimately is fatal.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



    For more information visit https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/

    Copyright © 2014 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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    • Chemical exposure avoidance: If the individual works with chemicals on a daily basis, such as in the case of hairdressers, printers, and painters, they should follow all safety instructions to avoid unsafe exposure. If an individual has their own well as their water source, they may wish to have it tested for contaminants such as lead and arsenic, which both may be linked to cancer. Local health departments can be a source of water testing.

    • Exercise and weight control: Controlling weight and exercising regularly can reduce the risk of developing cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week if the individual can physically tolerate it.

    • Fruits, vegetables and whole grains: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may help protect from developing various types of cancer. Eating five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day is important for good health. A variety of produce should be included in the individual's diet such as kale, chard, spinach, dark green lettuce, peppers, and squashes.

    • Limit alcohol consumption: Consuming moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol, such as more than one drink a day for women and two for men, may increase the risk of developing certain cancers. This is particularly true if the individual has a close relative, such as a parent, child or sibling with cancer.

    • Smoking cessation: Smoking can increase the risk of cancers such as lung and bladder.

    • Vitamins and minerals: Calcium, magnesium, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and folic acid may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Good food sources of calcium include skim or low-fat milk and other dairy products, shrimp, and soy products such as tofu and soy milk. Magnesium is found in leafy greens, nuts, peas and beans. Food sources of vitamin B6 include grains, legumes, peas, spinach, carrots, potatoes, dairy foods and meat. Folic acid is found in dark leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce, and in legumes, melons, bananas, broccoli and orange juice.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



    For more information visit https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/

    Copyright © 2014 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

  • 1 Answer
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    Although the risk factors for, and causes of, leukemia are largely unknown, scientists have identified some possible risk factors to be aware of. These include the following:
    • Exposure to high levels of radiation: Exposure to high-energy radiation (e.g., atomic bomb explosions) and intense exposure to low-energy radiation from electromagnetic fields (e.g., power lines).
    • Previous cancer treatment: Certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other cancers are considered leukemia risk factors.
    • Genetic diseases: Certain genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, may play a role in the development of leukemia.
    • Chemical exposure: Long-term exposure to certain pesticides or industrial chemicals like benzene is considered to be a risk for leukemia.
    • Gender: Men are more likely to develop chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) than women.
    • Age: The risk of most leukemias, with the exception of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), typically increases with age.
    • Smoking: Although smoking may not be a direct cause of leukemia, smoking cigarettes does increase the risk of developing AML.
    • Family history: Most leukemias have no familial link. However, first degree relatives of CLL patients, or having an identical twin who has or had AML or ALL, may put you at an increased risk for developing the disease.
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    Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. White blood cells as well as red blood cells and platelets form in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft part of the middle of bones. Other cancers are usually limited to one organ like the bowel or lung. These other "solid" cancers may be removed with surgery. The drug therapies may also differ between other cancers and leukemia.
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    APhRMA answered
    Although most cases occur in adults over the age of 60, leukemia does not discriminate between the young and the old. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among children and young adults under the age of 20. However, the death rate for leukemia in children ages 0 to 14 in the United States decreased 76 percent from 1969 to 2007.
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    APhRMA answered
    The early warning signs of leukemia include paleness, fatigue, weight loss, a tendency to bruise easily, repeated infections, and heavy or uncontrolled bleeding, such as nosebleeds. Any of these symptoms can appear suddenly in acute leukemia. Normally, a person with acute leukemia will feel sick due to these symptoms and see their doctor. The progress of chronic leukemia can be slow and produce no symptoms for years. Chronic leukemia is often detected by a doctor during a routine checkup, before the patient is aware of any symptoms.