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Acute Leukemia - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Leukemia is a malignant disease (cancer) of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of blood cells. In AML, the bone marrow makes many unformed cells called blasts. AML starts with a change to a single cell in the bone marrow. With AML, the leukemic cells are often referred. to as blast cells. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a fast-growing cancer in which the body produces a large number of immature white blood cells (lymphocytes). AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting, and its incidence increases with age. Acute leukemia is a rapidly progressing disease that results in the accumulation of immature, functionless cells in the marrow and blood. In acute leukemia, cancerous cells multiply quickly and replace normal cells. Cancerous cells take over normal parts of bone marrow, causing bone marrow failure. A person with ALL is more likely to bleed and have infections because there are fewer normal blood cells. Several congenital conditions may increase the risk of leukemia; the most common is probably Down syndrome, which is associated with a 10- to 18-fold increase in the risk of AML.


Leukemia is divided into four categories: myelogenous or lymphocytic, each of which can be acute or chronic. AML is more common in men than in women. Acute myelogenous leukemia is the most common form of leukemia. The difference is even more apparent in older patients. Leukemia is one of the top 15 most frequently occuring cancers in minority groups. Leukemia incidence is highest among whites and lowest among American Indians and Alaskan natives. Signs of AML are often non-specific, and may be similar to those of influenza or other common illnesses. Some generalized symptoms include fever, fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite, shortness of breath with exertion, anemia, easy bruising or bleeding, petechiae (flat, pin-head sized spots under the skin caused by bleeding), bone pain and joint pain and persistent or frequent infections.This is likely because myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) are more common in men, and advanced MDS frequently evolves into AML. More than 11,900 new cases occur in the United States each year, mostly in older. The average age of a person with AML is 65 years.


Most of the standard treatment for ALL uses chemotherapy.Chemotherapy is the initial treatment of choice. Stem cell transplantation is used instead of consolidative chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is used on painful bony areas, in high disease burdens, or as part of the preparations for a bone marrow transplant (total body irradiation). Stem cell transplant. Stem cell transplant is also used for consolidation therapy. It's similar to bone marrow transplant except the stem cells are collected from circulating blood (peripheral blood). Induction therapy for children with AML starts with two or three drugs. Stronger treatment is needed after a child with AML is in remission. This is called intensive consolidation therapy. It is given because usually some AML cells remain after induction therapy. Allogeneic stem cell transplant can be a high-risk procedure. For this reason, it may not be a good treatment for some AML patients. Bone marrow or cord blood transplant (also called a BMT) offers some patients the best chance for a long-term remission of their disease.


Acute Leukemia for Treatment Tips


1. Chemotherapy -- drugs that destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing.


2. Bone marrow or cord blood transplant (also called a BMT) offers some patients the best chance for a long-term remission of their disease.


3. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg) and Monoclonal antibodies are proteins designed to attach to leukemia cells and help the immune system destroy them.


4. Biological therapy attempts to stimulate or restore the ability of your child's immune system to fight cancer.


5. Avoiding smoking, exposure to toxic chemicals, and exposure to radiation may help prevent some cases of leukemia.


6. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin is a monoclonal antibody against CD33 (a molecule present on most AML cells but not on normal stem cells) conjugated to calicheamicin (a potent chemotherapy molecule).


7. Stem cell transplantation (SCT) is a treatment that permits the use of doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy high enough to destroy the patient's bone marrow.


Juliet Cohen writes articles for online medical clinic and diseases treatment. She also writes articles on depression treatment.


Source: www.articlecity.com