Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the patient’s blood and bone marrow. Its common symptoms include bone pain, unexplained fatigue, bleeding, and bruising. Continue reading to learn some intriguing leukemia facts to boost your understanding.
1. There Are Several Causes and Risks of Leukemia
To date, there is no clear cause of leukemia. However, studies and analyses have established several causes and risk factors associated with the disease. They include smoking (which can cause acute myeloid leukemia), drugs with alkylating agents such as the ones used in chemotherapy, radiation, genetic disorders, and chemical exposure.
2. Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau First Described Leukemia
Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau was a French surgeon and anatomist. He is credited with being the first medic to describe leukemia in 1827, though partly. Rudolf Virchow, a renowned pathologist, made leukemia’s complete description in 1845. From there, pathologists such as Franz Ernst Christian Neumann and Sidney Farber used the findings to make their own.
3. Bone Marrow Transplant Is One of Leukemia’s Treatment Options
Most forms of leukemia can be treated with pharmaceutical medication. However, chronic conditions usually require advanced treatment options such as bone marrow transplants and radiation therapy.
4. “Bat Kid” Beat Leukemia
Miles Scott, nicknamed “Bat Kid” from the superhero Batman, is a cancer survivor from northern California. At just 18 months old, Miles was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic leukemia/cancer of the white blood cells. He gained the name “Bat Kid” after being asked what he wanted and said he wished to be Batman. In 2018, after 5 years in remission, he was considered leukemia-free.
5. It’s Almost Impossible to Prevent Leukemia
Since its exact cause is unknown, preventing leukemia is almost impossible. The only exception may be to regulate/quit smoking since it contributes to a significant amount of leukemia cases.
6. Leukemia Is Rarely Associated with Pregnancy
Only 1 in 10,000 pregnant women are at risk of suffering from leukemia, making it rare. If, by chance, a pregnant woman has leukemia, chances are it is an acute one. In that case, the patient risks pregnancy loss or congenital disabilities, especially if treatment involves chemotherapy in the first trimester.
7. September Is Leukemia Awareness Month
September is leukemia awareness month. During this time, people learn more about the condition, read its history, and spread awareness. Additionally, patients learn where they can find better healthcare, and what to do when they experience specific symptoms.
8. Childhood Leukemia Has a Relatively High Cure Rate
Even though children are more disposed to leukemia, studies show they have relatively higher cure rates.
9. There Was a Charlie Brown Special Dedicated to Children with Leukemia
Charles “Charlie” Brown is a cartoon and main character in the strip Peanuts kids show. To highlight how leukemia affected children, the producers created a special named “Why, Charlie, Why?” featuring the character. The show was dedicated to children battling leukemia.
10. Early Leukemia Detection Isn’t Easy
Diagnosing leukemia early is not easy using the blood examination method. Usually, blood samples do not show that a patient is suffering from the disease. This explains why most patients are put in remission long after completing their treatment. Lymph node biopsy is the commonly used leukemia diagnosing alternative.
11. There Are Different Classifications and Types of Leukemia
Leukemia has a variety of pathological and clinical classifications, with the major ones being acute and chronic forms. For acute leukemia, the patient suffers a rapid increase in the number of immature blood cells. This results in the born marrow’s inability to produce enough healthy blood cells, causing reduced platelets and hemoglobin.
On the other hand, chronic leukemia results from an excessive buildup of matured but abnormal white blood cells and red blood cells (though this rarely happens). Specific types of leukemia include:
- Clonal eosinophilias
- Large granular lymphocytic leukemia
- T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- Chronic lymphocytic Leukemia