What is Blood Cancer/ Leukemia
Blood cancer is otherwise called leukemia. Normally blood cells are produced by the bone marrow and the immature blood cells are called stem cells. These stem cells matures with in the bone marrow and when matures pass out to the blood stream.
Bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Of these, the red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body and also transmit the carbon dioxide from all parts of the body to the lungs. While the white blood cells fight against diseases and strengthen our immune system. The platelets will help the blood to stop bleeding by forming clots.
In some people the bone marrow will produce abnormal white blood cells and in time the number of abnormal white blood cells increase and will exceed the normal cells. Then the increased number of abnormal white blood cells will impair the normal functioning of the blood and this leads to blood cancer. Depending up on the blood cells that are affected and the progress of the diseases blood cancers are differentiated as follows.
Types of Blood Cancer
1. Acute Leukemia
Acute leukemia occurs when the immature blood cells gets affected. In such cases the bone marrow makes abnormal blood cells that do not do their normal functions. This type of leukemia advances rapidly and it makes the diseases aggravates immediately. Blood cancer in most of the children and youths are acute leukemia. Depending up on the the type of affected blood cells acute leukemia is again classified in to two.
a. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
When the immature lymphoid cells are affected it becomes acute lymphocytic leukemia. Here the bone marrow gives rise to abnormal lymphoid cells and these cells proliferate quickly. It is commonly found in children below 19 years old and also in adults of about 60 years.
b. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
When the myeloid cells found in the blood are affected then that person will get acute myelogenous leukemia. It is also called acute granulocytic leukemia or myeloblastic leukemia. It is seen in both adults and in children.
2. Chronic Leukemia
Here the mature blood cells get affected and still they will be able to do their normal functioning. Then the number of abnormal cells increases slowly and thus the symptoms will appear only in later stage when the number of abnormal cells exceeds certain limits. This is again classified in to two and they are.
a. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Here mature lymphoid cells gets affected and is commonly seen in people above 55 years old. It will never hit children.
b. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
This occurs when the mature myeloid cells gets affected and is seen principally in adults.
c. Hairy Type Leukemia or Human T- Cell Leukemia
This is a very rarely seen chronic lymphocytic leukemia in which the surface of blood cells is covered with hair like projections. It is seen mostly in men compared to women.