Leukemia- What is it?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the body’s soft tissues and bone marrows. Blood cells are particularly made in the bone marrow. Bone marrows are the ones that make the three blood components such as the RBC, WBC, and Platelets. RBC or the red blood cell carries the oxygen systemically, oxygen is important in the blood circulation- it is one component that needs by the cells inorder to live. The white blood cells are the soldiers of the body, and help it to fight infection and protect it from harmful antigens that enter it. Platelets help in healing wounds by blood clotting.

If a patient has leukemia, the bone marrow makes a lot of abnormal leukocytes or abnormal white blood cells that grows faster and never stops from growing. In time, these leukemia cells crowds out the normal cells of the blood thus leading to serious complications such as bleeding, anemia, and infection. These leukemia cells can also metastasize in the lymph nodes and other parts of the body causing pain and edema or swelling.

There are 4 types of leukemia:

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia,
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia,
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, and
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, and the new type Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia have been found to be mainly in children; but the most common Leukemia in children is the one called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is common in adults. However, there are leukemias that are less common like the Hairy Cell Leukemia.

Causes

  • Exposure to radiation in large quantity,
  • Exposure to chemicals like benzene, smoke, exposure to chemotherapeutic agents, and
  • Genetic problems such as Down’s syndrome.

Symptoms

Causes Symptoms and Treatment for Leukemia

  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Easy bleeding
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, and groin
  • Other forms of infection;
  • Body weakness
  • Enlarged spleen

Diagnosis

  • Checking for lymph nodes and spleen enlargement through physical examination,
  • And other blood test like complete blood count as Leukemia is caused by problem in the WBC, so it is increased in the findings of WBC. Like any cancer

Treatment

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy;
  • Stem cell transplantation which is pretty expensive; and
  • Biological therapy using the natural body’s defenses.
  • There are also clinical trials for future treatment of leukemia, and to other patients these trials are one of their treatment options. But like all treatments, leukemia treatments have its side effects.

However, there are other types of treatment that one can use such as herbal remedies. These herbal remedies have found to be effective in boosting the immune system, and lessening the size of the malignant tumor cells. Herbal remedies are natural and can remove free radicals in the body that can potentially cause the incidence of the leukemia’s progression.

Herbal Remedies

  • Milk thistle – slows down growth of cancer cells.
  • Korean Red Ginseng – could be used as it inhibits telomerase that could cause apoptosis in the leukemic cells.
  • Turmeric – can be used by patients with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia; it acts by adding up white blood cells in the bone marrow.
  • Olive Leaf or Europea – used as to boost the immune system as well as turmeric.

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Categories: Diseases & Conditions