Leukemias are cancers that involve the bone marrow and lymphatic system. In these disorders, there are an increase in the production of the number of white cells, or leukocytes. These abnormal cells may accumulate in the bone marrow, the lymph glands or in the blood. Due to the excessive production of these cells, the normal production of other white cells, red cells and platelets are adversely affected. Leukemias are classified as lymphocytic, myelogenous or monocytic. This classification depends on which type of white cell has given rise to the cancerous cells. Leukemias are also broken down into acute and chronic forms.
Causes of Leukemia
The cause of leukemia is unknown. There are cases where it appears to run in families.
Signs and Symptoms of Leukemia
Fatigue, shortness of breath and generalized weakness are all common symptoms attributable to the anemia which can occur with leukemia. Due to the lack of red cells, it is difficult or impossible to transport enough oxygen to various organs. Fever, night sweats and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin or armpit occur. Due to disturbances of normal cell production, excessive bleeding and easy bruising may occur. Swelling and tenderness in the upper right or left side of the abdomen may occur due to enlargement of the spleen or liver. Weight loss and bone pain may also occur.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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