Acute lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are prepared. The word “acute” in acute lymphocytic leukemia appears from the fact that the disease aggravates rapidly and creates immature blood cells, rather than mature ones. The term “lymphocytic” in acute lymphocytic leukemia indicates to the white blood cells known as lymphocytes, which all affect. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most prevalent type of cancer disease in children, and treatment output in a good chance for a cure. Acute lymphocytic leukemia can also happen in adults, though the possibility of a remedy is greatly minimized.
Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Signs and symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia may consist of:
1) Bleeding from the gums
2) Bone pain
4) Frequent infections
5) Frequent or serious nosebleeds
6) Lumps caused by swollen lymph nodes in and around the neck, underarm, abdomen or groin
7) Pale skin
8) Shortness of breath
9) Weakness, fatigue uneasiness or a general decrease in energy
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Causes
Acute lymphocytic leukemia causes when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA. The errors say the cell to continue growing and dividing when a healthy cell would usually stop sharing and ultimately die. When this occurs, blood cell production becomes abnormal. The bone marrow generates immature cells that grow into leukemic white blood cells known as lymphoblasts. These abnormal cells are unable to function correctly, and they can build up and destroy healthy cells. It is unclear what makes the DNA mutations that can cause acute lymphocytic leukemia. But doctors have found that most cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia are not inherited.
Diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Tests and procedures used for the diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia include:
1) Blood examines: Blood tests may disclose too many white blood cells, not sufficient red blood cells, and not adequate platelets. A blood examination may also show the presence of blast cells immature cells typically found in the bone marrow.
2) Bone marrow test: During the bone marrow test, a needle is used to eliminate a sample of bone marrow from the hipbone or breastbone. The sample is forwarded to a lab for testing to look for leukemia cells.
Doctors in the lab will classify blood cells into particular types depends on their size, shape, and other genetic or molecular features. They also watch specific changes in the cancer cells and understand whether the leukemia cells started from the B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes. This information assists the doctor to promote a treatment plan.
3) Imaging test: Imaging tests like an X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or ultrasound scan may assist in understanding whether cancer has expanded to the brain and spinal cord or other sections of the body.
4) Spinal fluid examines: A lumbar puncture test, also known as a spinal tap, may be used to collect a sample of spinal fluid, the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The sample is tested to see whether cancer cells have expanded to the spinal fluid.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment
In general, the treatment of acute lymphocytic leukemia falls into different phases:
1) Induction therapy: The purpose of the first phase of treatment is to destroy most of the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow and to recover average blood cell production.
2) Consolidation therapy: Also known as post-remission therapy, this phase of treatment is focused on killing any remaining leukemia in the body, like in the brain or spinal cord.
3) Maintenance therapy: The third phase of treatment prevents leukemia cells from regrowing. The remedies provided in this stage are sometimes given at much lower doses over a long time, sometimes years.
4) Preventive treatment to the spinal cord: During each phase of therapy, people with acute lymphocytic leukemia may get additional treatment to destroy leukemia cells positioned in the central nervous system. In this type of treatment, chemotherapy drugs are sometimes injected directly into the fluid that covers the spinal cord.
5) Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to destroy cancer cells, is usually used as induction therapy for children and adults with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Chemotherapy drugs can also be applied in the consolidation and maintenance phases.
6) Targeted therapy: Targeted medicines attack specific abnormalities present in cancer cells that assist them in growing and thriving. A particular defect known as the Philadelphia chromosome is found in some people with acute lymphocytic leukemia. For these people, targeted drugs may be applied to attack cells that contain that abnormality. Targeted therapy may be applied during or after chemotherapy.
7) Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams, like X-rays or protons, to destroy cancer cells. If the cancer cells have extended to the central nervous system, the doctor may suggest radiation therapy.
8) Bone marrow transplant: A bone marrow transplant, also called a stem cell transplant, may be used as consolidation therapy in people at a high chance of relapse or for treating decline when it happens. This process permits someone with leukemia to re-establish healthy bone marrow by replacing leukemic bone marrow with leukemia-free marrow from a healthy person. A bone marrow transplant starts with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation to kill any leukemia-producing bone marrow. The marrow is then replaced by bone marrow from a compatible donor.