What are the symptoms that you need to look out for?
Symptoms associated with chronic leukaemia include:
- Excessive sweating
- General body weakness and fatigue
- Unintended loss of weight
- Pain and tenderness in the pain
- Swelling in the lymph nodes
- Liver or spleen enlargement
- Petechiae, which is marked by red spots on the skin
- Increased vulnerability to bleeding and bruising
- Fever and chills
- Recurrent infections
What causes Chronic Leukaemia?
Chronic leukaemia is believed to be a result of undesired genetic mutations in the DNA of the white blood cells which compel them to divide and grow uncontrollably. These changes can be triggered by a variety of factors.
What are the various risk factors associated with Leukaemia?
Various different factors that can elevate your risks of developing leukaemia include:
- Having a family history of the malignancy
- Excessive smoking
- Certain genetic disorders like Down Syndrome
- Myelodysplastic syndrome and other blood disorders
- Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for some other cancer
- Over-exposure to high-intensity radiations
- Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals like benzene
Screening and diagnosis
Various modalities available for the diagnosis of chronic leukaemia include:
- Physical examination – The doctor will assess the physical signs such as swollen lymph nodes or spleen enlargement, and go through your medical history.
- Blood test – Blood investigations help to detect any abnormality in the count of red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets.
- Bone marrow test – This involves the thorough examination of a sample of bone marrow collected from the patient’s hip bone.
- Lumbar puncture – A sample of the spinal fluid is collected and assessed to figure out whether the cancer has spread to the central nervous system
- Liver function test – This helps to determine whether the cancer has reached the liver or not.
The treatment for leukaemia depends upon the stage and type of the cancer. This includes:
- Chemotherapy – It uses a single drug or a combination of drugs to target unhealthy and diseased cells.
- Radiation energy – It uses high-intensity radiation beams to target and kill the cancerous cells in a specific area of the body.
- Stem cell transplantation – It refers to the replacement of the damaged and diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow taken from a donor or your own body
- Biological immune therapy – The therapy aims at helping your immune system recognize all the unhealthy cells and target them.
- Targeted therapy – It uses certain drugs to target certain weaknesses in the diseased cells and block them.