Review: Introduction to Leukemia

Here is what we have learned from Introduction to Leukemia:

  • Leukemia is a type of cancer in the bone marrow causing an abnormal increase in the amount of white blood cells produced.
  • Each year, leukemia is diagnosed in about 29,000 adults and 2,000 children in the United States.
  • The leukemia cells usually look different from normal blood cells, and they do not function properly.
  • There are two ways of grouping leukemia—by how quickly the disease develops and by the type of blood cell that is affected.
  • In acute leukemia, the number of abnormal blood cells increases rapidly, and the disease gets worse quickly while in chronic leukemia, the number of abnormal blood cells increases less rapidly than in acute leukemia.
  • Four major forms of leukemias are:
    • Acute lymphocytic leukemia
    • Acute myeloid leukemia
    • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
    • Chronic myeloid leukemia
  • Risk factors for leukemia include, among others, radiation exposure, hereditary syndromes, smoking, age, and some unknown factors.
  • Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of leukemia.