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Leukemia

About the Disease

Leukemia is cancer of the body's blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Many types of leukemia exist. Some forms of leukemia are more common in children. Other forms of leukemia occur mostly in adults. Leukemia usually involves the white blood cells. Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters — they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don't function properly. Treatment for leukemia can be complex — depending on the type of leukemia and other factors. But there are strategies and resources that can help to make your treatment successful.

Leukemia symptoms vary, depending on the type of leukemia. Common leukemia signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Persistent fatigue, weakness
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Recurrent nosebleeds
  • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Bone pain or tenderness

Leukemia symptoms are often vague and not specific. You may overlook early leukemia symptoms because they may resemble symptoms of the flu and other common illnesses. Rarely, leukemia may be discovered during blood tests for some other condition.

Scientists don't understand the exact causes of leukemia. It seems to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In general, leukemia is thought to occur when some blood cells acquire mutations in their DNA — the instructions inside each cell that guide its action. There may be other changes in the cells that have yet to be fully understood could contribute to leukemia. Certain abnormalities cause the cell to grow and divide more rapidly and to continue living when normal cells would die. Over time, these abnormal cells can crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow, leading to fewer healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, causing the signs and symptoms of leukemia.

Doctors classify leukemia based on its speed of progression and the type of cells involved. The first type of classification is by how fast the leukemia progresses:

  1. Acute leukemia - In acute leukemia, the abnormal blood cells are immature blood cells (blasts). They can't carry out their normal functions, and they multiply rapidly, so the disease worsens quickly. Acute leukemia requires aggressive, timely treatment.
  2. Chronic leukemia - There are many types of chronic leukemias. Some produce too many cells and some cause too few cells to be produced. Chronic leukemia involves more mature blood cells. These blood cells replicate or accumulate more slowly and can function normally for a period of time. Some forms of chronic leukemia initially produce no early symptoms and can go unnoticed or undiagnosed for years.

The second type of classification is by type of white blood cell affected:

  1. Lymphocytic leukemia. This type of leukemia affects the lymphoid cells (lymphocytes), which form lymphoid or lymphatic tissue. Lymphatic tissue makes up your immune system.
  2. Myelogenous (my-uh-LOHJ-uh-nus) leukemia. This type of leukemia affects the myeloid cells. Myeloid cells give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet-producing cells.

The major types of leukemia are:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). This is the most common type of leukemia in young children. ALL can also occur in adults. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). AML is a common type of leukemia. It occurs in children and adults. AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). With CLL, the most common chronic adult leukemia, you may feel well for years without needing treatment.
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This type of leukemia mainly affects adults. A person with CML may have few or no symptoms for months or years before entering a phase in which the leukemia cells grow more quickly. Other types. Other, rarer types of leukemia exist, including hairy cell leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative disorders.

Factors that may increase your risk of developing some types of leukemia include:

  • Previous cancer treatment - People who've had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other cancers have an increased risk of developing certain types of leukemia.
  • Genetic disorders - Genetic abnormalities seem to play a role in the development of leukemia. Certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, are associated with an increased risk of leukemia.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals - Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene — which is found in gasoline and is used by the chemical industry — also is linked to an increased risk of some kinds of leukemia.
  • Smoking - Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.
  • Family history of leukemia - If members of your family have been diagnosed with leukemia, your risk for the disease may be increased.

However, most people with known risk factors don't get leukemia. And many people with leukemia have none of these risk factors.

    Dr. Anil Kumar Dhar

    Dr. Anil Kumar Dhar

    Director

    Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon

    Dr. Harsh Dua

    Dr. Harsh Dua

    Senior Consultant

    Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi

    Dr. P K Das

    Dr. P K Das

    Senior Consultant

    Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi

    Dr. Ganesh Jadhav

    Dr. Ganesh Jadhav

    Consultant

    Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi

    Dr. Shishir Seth

    Dr. Shishir Seth

    Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi

    Dr. Nitin Sood

    Dr. Nitin Sood

    Consultant

    Medanta The Medicity, Gurgaon

    Dr. Arun Kumar Giri

    Dr. Arun Kumar Giri

    Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology

    Rockland Hospitals, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi

    Dr. Subodh Chandra Pandey

    Dr. Subodh Chandra Pandey

    Head -Radiation Oncology, Radiation Oncology

    Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon

    Dr. Vinay Samuel Gaikwad

    Dr. Vinay Samuel Gaikwad

    Consultant, Surgical Oncology

    Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon

    Dr.  K K Pandey

    Dr. K K Pandey

    Head of the Department, Oncology

    Rockland Hospitals, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi

    Dr. Vikash Kumar Agarwal

    Dr. Vikash Kumar Agarwal

    Surgical Oncologist

    Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata

    Dr. Arun  Giri

    Dr. Arun Giri

    Sr. Consultant, Surgical Oncology

    Rockland Hospitals, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi

    Dr. Kannan

    Dr. Kannan

    Consultant - Surgical Oncology

    Apollo Hospitals, Greams Lane, Chennai

    Dr. C B Koppiker

    Dr. C B Koppiker

    Consultant - Oncology

    Apollo Jehangir Hospital, Pune

    Dr. Praful B Desai

    Dr. Praful B Desai

    Senior Surgical Oncologist - Oncology

    Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Marine Lines

    Dr. Satish Kumar A

    Dr. Satish Kumar A

    Consultant - Hematology and Hemato Oncology

    Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield, Bangalore

    Dr. Neelesh Reddy

    Dr. Neelesh Reddy

    Consultant - Oncology

    Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield, Bangalore

    Dr. Sarita Rani Jaiswal

    Dr. Sarita Rani Jaiswal

    Consultant - Hemato-Oncology

    Dharamshila Hospital, New Delhi

    Dr. Suparno Chakrabarti

    Dr. Suparno Chakrabarti

    Hemato - Oncologist - Oncology

    Dharamshila Hospital, New Delhi

    Dr. Tejinder Singh

    Dr. Tejinder Singh

    Consultant - Oncology

    Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, Mumbai

    Dr. Shyam A Rathi

    Dr. Shyam A Rathi

    Consultant - Hemato-Oncology

    Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Marine Lines

    Dr. Arun Behl

    Dr. Arun Behl

    Oncosurgeon - Oncology

    Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai

    Dr. Subhaprakash Sanyal

    Dr. Subhaprakash Sanyal

    Consultant - Hematology - Hemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant

    Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai

    Dr. Aadesh A Patil

    Dr. Aadesh A Patil

    Consultant - Oncology

    Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai

    Dr. Abhinav Ahluwalia

    Dr. Abhinav Ahluwalia

    Consultant - International Oncology Center

    Fortis Hospital, Noida

    Dr. Surya Potharaju

    Dr. Surya Potharaju

    HOD - International Oncology Center

    Fortis Hospital, Noida

    Dr. Sujay Susikar

    Dr. Sujay Susikar

    Consultant - Surgical Oncology.

    Fortis Malar Hospital, Adyar, Chennai

    Dr. Sumana Premkumar

    Dr. Sumana Premkumar

    Consultant - Oncology

    Dr. Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai

    Dr. Balaji Subramanian

    Dr. Balaji Subramanian

    Consultant - Oncology

    Kasthuri Hospital, Chennai

    Dr. Nagraj G Huilgol

    Dr. Nagraj G Huilgol

    Consultant - Oncology

    Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle, Mumbai

    Dr. Ashish Joshi

    Dr. Ashish Joshi

    Consultant - Oncology

    Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle, Mumbai

    Dr. Amit Rauthan

    Dr. Amit Rauthan

    Medical Oncology - Oncology

    Manipal Hospital, HAL Airport Road, Bangalore

    Dr. Ashish Dixit

    Dr. Ashish Dixit

    Consultant - Hematology

    Manipal Hospital, HAL Airport Road, Bangalore

    Dr. Poonam Patil

    Dr. Poonam Patil

    Consultant - Oncology

    Manipal Hospital, HAL Airport Road, Bangalore

    Dr. Gopal Sharma

    Dr. Gopal Sharma

    Senior Consultant - Oncology

    Max Super Speciality Hospital (Pushpanjali Crosslay), Vaishali, Ghaziabad

    Dr. Malay Nandy

    Dr. Malay Nandy

    Director & Senior Consultant - Hemato?Medical Oncology

    Max Super Speciality Hospital (Pushpanjali Crosslay), Vaishali, Ghaziabad

    Dr. Arun Goel

    Dr. Arun Goel

    Director & Senior Consultant - Oncology

    Max Super Speciality Hospital (Pushpanjali Crosslay), Vaishali, Ghaziabad

    Dr. Anupama Jaggia

    Dr. Anupama Jaggia

    Consultant - Hematology

    Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi

    Dr. Vaneet Gupta

    Dr. Vaneet Gupta

    Consultant - Oncology

    Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute (PSRI), New Delhi

    Dr. Vineet Gupta

    Dr. Vineet Gupta

    Senior Consultant and HOD - Medical Oncology & Hematology

    Sakra World Hospital, Varthur Hobli, Bangalore

    Dr. P P Bapsy

    Dr. P P Bapsy

    Senior Consultant and Head of Department, Oncology

    Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road

    Dr. C N Patil

    Dr. C N Patil

    Consultant, Oncology

    Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road

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