Blood cancer also known as Leukaemia, is a relatively rare type of cancer, but its effects can be very dangerous and dangerous to life. Leukaemia or blood cancer is a life-threatening disease that can lead to death in a short time.
The tricky part of the disease is that in the initial stage no symptoms of the blood cancer can be detected. The patient feels healthy and does not notice what dangerous illness he carries within him.
Blood cancer is divided into acute and chronic leukaemia’s after the respective course:
- Acute lymphatic leukaemia (ALL): Develops in stem cells of bone marrow. As a result, the blood formation is disturbed.
- Acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML): Cancerous change of the so-called Myeloblasts takes place in the bone marrow.
- Chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML): Is form of blood cancer in which the Granulocytes proliferate very strongly.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL): In this type the bone marrow produces too many abnormal lymphocytes.
The exact causes of leukaemia are unknown but some common causes are:
- Genetic factors: People who suffer from genetic predisposition or Down syndrome have an increased risk of leukemia.
- Radioactive radiation and X-rays: Radiation can damage the hereditary material of cells. As a result, the irradiated cells can develop into cancer cells.
- Chemical Substances: Especially benzene and its derivatives are associated with the development of leukemia. The substance is found, among other things such as in cigarettes, plant protection products, insect repellents and other biological substances.
- Age: Increasing age appears to be a risk factor for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia.
- Viruses: Certain forms of leukaemia may be promoted by a viral disease.
The symptoms of an acute leukaemia usually arise suddenly within a few weeks by the displacement of the normal blood cells.
However possible blood cancer symptoms are:
|Fatigue, general exhaustion, and lustlessness, feeling of illness.||Very often|
|Skin pallor due to lack of red blood cells (anaemia).||In about 80% of patients|
|Fever||In approximately 60% of patients|
|Swollen lymph nodes, around the neck, in the armpits or in the groin.||In approximately 63% of patients|
|Abdominal pain and loss of appetite (by enlargement of spleen or liver).||In approximately 60% of patients|
|Bleeding tendency, for example difficult to breastfeed nose or gum bleeding, bruises or skin bleeding (Petechiae).||In approximately 48% of patients|
|Bone and joint pain.||In approximately 23% of patients|
|Headache, blurred vision, vomiting, cranial nerve palsies (by infestation of the central nervous system).||In about 3% of patients|
|Shortness of breath (by increasing the thymus gland or lymph nodes in the chest cavity).||In approximately 7% of patients|
|Enlargement of the testes.||Very rare|
In the diagnosis of acute leukaemia, blood and bone examinations are complementary. On results of blood and bone marrow investigations, it is possible to distinguish the Lymphatic and Myeloid forms of leukaemia from one another and to determine the exact type of the disease.
Also imaging techniques such as ultrasound or computed tomography are used examined whether further organs are affected by blood cancer. An examination of the brain water (Cerebrospinal fluid) is used to check whether leukaemia cells have already penetrated into the brain.
All further diagnostics, which follow the first clinical examination and the first blood tests, should be carried out in specially qualified specialist clinics.
Treatment of blood cancer include:
- Chemotherapy: The focus of the treatment of patients with acute Lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the chemotherapy. This is understood as a treatment with cell-growth-inhibiting drugs (cytostatics).
- Radiotherapy: In some patients in addition to chemotherapy there is a radiation of the central nervous system’s (cranial irradiation).
- Stem Cell Transplantation: In some cases, high-dose chemotherapy (is high-dose chemotherapy ) followed by stem cell transplantation necessary.
The goal of treatment is to as completely destroy the leukaemia cells in the body, so that the bone marrow can take up its role as a hematopoietic organ again.