Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is one of the 4 main types of Leukemia. It is a cancer of the white blood cells (WBC) and an increase in lymphoblasts are seen.
Within the Bone Marrow a production of WBC is seen that are immature. The concerning factor is when the other necessary blood cells become out-produced by the immature WBC. This disease can progress swiftly [Acute]
This condition is seen most often between the ages of 4-12, and then again much later in life. 85% of children respond well to treatment while 50% of adults have good outcomes.
Without treatment – the time period from onset to death may be a few weeks to months.
Cancer may move to different areas of the body [metastasize].
Other major types of Leukemia are:
What are the Symptoms of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia?
As in other medical conditions, symptoms can vary from one patient to the next. Some patients may have minimal symptoms initially. These are a few of the most common:
– Weight loss
– Bone pain
– Joint pain
– Loss of appetite
– Swelling in legs
– Enlargement of lymph nodes
– Enlargement of Spleen
– Enlargement of Liver
What is the Cause of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia?
– The cause is not known
– Genetic [theory]
– Change or damage to DNA
– Nuclear radiation exposure
– Other chemical exposure
How does the Diagnosis process work?
Blood work is essential to the diagnosis. There will be many different tests that will look at a lot of different medical conditions as possibilities. The diagnosis may not be the one they are initially looking for either. It will be a process for the diagnosis.
– White blood count will be quite elevated
– Blast cells are often seen
– Biopsy of bone marrow is definitive
– Spinal tap may detect involvement of Brain
Treatment of this condition
*** The earlier detected is better
To Induce Remission [rapidly kill tumor cells]
. Dexamethasone (children)
. Daunorubicin (adults)
Intensification [causes the tumor to decrease in size]
Steroids as well
– Used for painful areas
– Used prior to bone marrow transplant
Bone Marrow Transplant