Medical Resources: Understanding Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It manifests itself when the blood begins producing too many white blood cells. Leukemia occurs in both adults and children. The leukemia survival rate is around fifty percent, but it can be a difficult disease to treat. Many people live with leukemia for several years while trying to fight it. There are four basic types of leukemia, but there are subcategories within those types. Doctors may use a variety of methods to treat leukemia.Orange Ribbon.

Living with Leukemia

Many people live with chronic leukemia for several years. There are drugs that help to fight the disease and slow its progress. There are many support groups for people with leukemia, and for their family members. When you have been diagnosed you need to work out a treatment plan with your doctor and follow it. You do have the opportunity to continue living a fairly normal life, especially if the leukemia responds well to the drugs.

Know About Leukemia

Understanding leukemia will help you to better fight the disease. The course of the disease for children is different than it is for adults. The treatment options are different as well. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and treatment processes will make it easier to fight the disease and to support a loved one who is suffering from it.

Treating Leukemia

Each case of leukemia will require a unique treatment plan. Many doctors start with some sort of chemotherapy or drug therapy to see how well the leukemia responds. If there are tumors related to leukemia, they will be removed surgically. If the leukemia does not respond well to the drug therapy, then the patient may need a bone marrow transplant. There are alternative methods of treatment you can explore as well as clinical trials available if your leukemia does not respond to traditional treatments.

Leukemia and Genetics

Since leukemia spreads through the alteration of your genes in your body, most of the genetic research for leukemia has been focused on finding which genes change and how those genes spread the disease. Some studies have been successful at isolating specific genes. Once scientists identify the genes, they can begin working on medicines that specifically target the genes. Most leukemia is not inherited since it is caused by genetic mutation within the patient’s body. However, they have found the gene mutation that increases the chance of getting leukemia if you have Down syndrome.

Leukemia Specific Sites

There are several foundations and organizations dedicated to help people with leukemia. Most of these fund research to help come up with a better cure for leukemia. Some of them offer support to people who have leukemia and their families. Some of the foundations are focused on childhood leukemia, while others fight all forms. Joining a support group or giving to a foundation may help you cope with the diagnosis of yourself or a loved one. 

Causes of Leukemia

Scientists have not been able to determine a specific cause for leukemia. There have been genetic studies, and most types of leukemia are not passed down through families. Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) does have a higher hereditary rate than other types of leukemia. There are specific blood disorders that indicate a higher risk of contracting leukemia in the future. Another cause of leukemia may be exposure to radiation or chemicals that cause gene abnormalities.