Blood cancer is a form of cancer which attacks the blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system. There are three kinds of blood cancer, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of white blood cells. Leukemia is malignancy of cells in the blood. This means that the normal marrow is pushed into smaller areas. This results in fewer normal cells being produced and gives rise to some of the symptoms. The disease starts in the bone marrow and spreads to different parts of the body. Leukemia is sub-divided into a variety of large groups. The first division is between its acute and chronic forms:
• Acute Leukemia- It is fast, progressive and is more common in children. It is characterized by immature WBCs in the bone marrow and peripheral blood.
• Chronic Leukemia- Slow progressing type of leukemia, associated with old age. Accumulation of abnormal mature WBCs observed.
Leukemias are sub- divided into lymphoblastic or lymphocytic leukemias and myeloid or myelogenous leukemias:
• Myelogenous Leukemia – It affects the myelocytes (eosinophils, basophils and neutrophils).
• Lymphocytic Leukemia – It affects the T or the B lymphocytes.
Signs and Symptoms of Blood Cancer
Following are some Leukemia blood cancer symptoms:
• Repeated infections
• Enlarged lymph glands
• Night sweats
• Pain in the bones or joints
• Frequent infections
• Feeling weak or tired
• Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen
• Weight loss for no known reason
Leukemia Prognosis/ Life Expectancy
Below given is the prognosis for the different types of leukemia:
• Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Prognosis: People in the early stages may have a life expectancy of 98 months and people in middle stages may have a life expectancy of 65 months. While the last stage patients may expect to live for 42 months on an average.
• Acute Myeloid Leukemia Prognosis: This is the most common type of leukemia among adults. If detected early, statistics show that 20% to 40% of patients survive for at least 60 months. The older people who are suffering from this disease have a very low life expectancy.
• Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Prognosis: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia has a very high incidence rate among people who are more than 60 years. Men are more affected by this disease than women. If the disease has affected the B-cells, then life expectancy of patient can be between 10 to 20 years. However, those with T cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia have a very low life expectancy.
• Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Prognosis: A patient with acute lymphocytic leukemia could survive for only 4 months. However, about 80% of the affected children are completely cured. Adults have been seen to have a 40% chance of complete cure. Acute leukemia prognosis depends on the stage of disease progression, but children in the age group of 3 to 7 seem to have the highest chance of complete recovery.
Prognosis largely depends on age and response to therapies. For further do check out Medicinenet.com
Listed below are some clinical trials investigating new treatments for Blood Cancer (Leukemia).