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Leukaemia is cancer that develops within the bone marrow and lymphatic system. When a person has leukaemia, the bone marrow makes too many blood cells, and they aren’t normal. It most commonly affects white blood cells, making it harder for the body’s immune system to fight infection. Many types of leukaemia exist. Some forms of leukaemia are more common in children. Other forms of leukaemia occur mostly in adults. Leukaemia usually involves white blood cells.
Symptoms of leukaemia are as below:
- Fever or chills.
- Persistent weakness
- Frequent chronic infections
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Bone and Joint pain
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Recurrent nosebleeds
- Tiny red spots on your skin (Petechiae)
Causes: While scientists don’t know the exact causes for the developing cells to mutate, there are a few factors that may increase your risk of developing various types of leukaemia:
- Genetic disorders
- Exposure to certain chemicals like benzene
- Family history of leukaemia
- Previous cancer treatment
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is Leukemia one of the most common cancers in children?
Leukemia or Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) specifically, accounts for 1 out of 3 cases of childhood cancer. It is the most common cancer in children and adolescents.
What is remission?
There are two classifications for remission:
- Complete remission - means that physical exams, tests and scans show no signs or symptoms of cancer.
- Partial remission - means that the cancer partly responded to treatment, and you have less cancer throughout your body
Even if you are in remission or your disease is under control, regular follow-up care is critically important.
When do I see a doctor?
Leukemia symptoms are often vague and not specific. If you have persistent symptoms as mentioned above, see a doctor. Sometimes leukemia is discovered during blood tests for some other condition.