Cancer starts when the cells in any part of the body divide out of control. They can also spread to other parts of the body through the process called metastasis.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) or acute lymphoblastic leukemia is cancer which occurs due to the endless division of the white blood cells in the bone marrow (spongy tissue in the bone). This results in the production of immature blood cells. It is termed as acute because it progresses very rapidly and becomes fatal within a few months if not treated. However, the cancers which start in other body parts but spread to the bone marrow are not considered as acute lymphocytic leukemia.
ALL is more common in children and is easy to cure compared to that which occurs in adults.
Your chances of bleeding and infections increase if you have ALL. You may have
The other associated symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, and tiredness.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia occurs due to the mutations in the DNA of the bone marrow cells. Consequently, the cells grow and divide continuously. However, the cause of mutations in the DNA is still unclear.
As the treatment for ALL is long way, often 2 to 3 years, you may help yourself to cope up with this by:
SYour risk for getting acute lymphocytic leukemia is high if you have undergone cancer therapy in your past, or were exposed to radiations or chemicals such as benzene, hair dyes, etc. Also, certain genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome can increase your risk for ALL. If your siblings have ALL, you may also be at risk of developing the condition.
If your condition is left untreated, you may develop the below complications:
If your signs and symptoms are persistent and bothering, then you must consult doctor. Before getting doctor’s help, it is better to avoid activities which can worsen your signs and symptoms.
It is a good idea to be well-prepared before going for an appointment.
Your doctor may order for any of the below tests to diagnose and confirm whether you have ALL or not. If you have ALL, you may have the following results with the below tests.Blood tests: It shows numerous white blood cells but fewer red blood cells and platelets. Also, certain immature cells called the blast cells may be present.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia treatment involves 4 phases, and the duration of each phase varies with your situation:
The following types of surgeries are considered:Induction phase : In this first phase of treatment, most of the cancer cells in the blood and bone marrow are destroyed, and the normal blood cell cycle is attained.
Below are the treatment options:
Chemotherapeutic agents: These drugs kill the cancer cells and are used in the first 3 phases.
Targeted drug therapy: These drugs specifically act on the abnormalities in the cancer cells and prevent them from dividing abnormally. For example, imatinib, nilotinib, etc.
Radiation therapy: High-energy radiations such as X-rays are used to kill the cancer cells which have spread to the CNS (i.e. brain and spinal cord).
Stem cell transplant: If the risk of relapse is high, then this therapy is indicated. In this approach, the cancer cells in the bone marrow are replaced with normal cells from a healthy individual.
Although there are no alternative therapies to treat ALL, some therapies as mentioned below can improve the symptoms of leukemia.
|It is quite important to discuss with your doctor before going for any alternative therapies, as they can interfere with the other chemotherapeutic approaches.|