Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia - Essay

Topics: Leukemia, Bone marrow, Hematology Pages: 5 (1712 words) Published: April 8, 2012
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Multiple forms of leukemia are present in today’s children. The four major forms of childhood leukemia include Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, and Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) is cancer of the bone and bone marrow (“Acute Myelogenous Leukemia” 1). Compared to AML where 10% of AML patients are children, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia accounts for 80% of all childhood acute leukemia’s. ALL occurs in children ages three through seven (Zieve 1). Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) acquires six processes from the beginning of the disease to the end of the disease; understanding ALL involves learning about its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and the side effects.

Since ALL is the most popular form of childhood acute leukemia’s, one needs to gather every bit of information present about this disease. This particular childhood leukemia is a type of blood cancer (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 1). ALL results from an acquired genetic injury to the DNA of a single cell in the bone marrow (Bellenir 592). Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and Acute Lymphoid Leukemia are both synonyms for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (Bellenir 592). Throughout the United States in 2010, 5,330 people are expected to be diagnosed with ALL (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 1).

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia results when the body produces a large quantity of immature white blood cells (Hughes). ALL can originate in the bone, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen (Zieve 1). “ALL starts with a change to a single cell in the bone marrow (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 1). As with any disease, risk factors are present with ALL. If an individual has had exposure to high doses of radiation therapy, they are at a high risk for developing ALL (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 1). “ALL occurs at different rates in different geographic locations” (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 2). However, people that live in more developed countries are at a higher risk of developing ALL as well (Bellenir 592). People that have Down syndrome or other genetic disorders, or have a sibling with leukemia are at a greater risk for developing ALL (Zieve 1).

ALL patient experience many different symptoms during the disease. People who are experiencing ALL may come to find pain in the arms, legs, and back (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 2). Individuals may notice tiny red spots under the skin and black-and-blue marks, almost like bruises, on the skin for no apparent reason (Bellenir 594). Detecting swollen lymph nodes is not an everyday activity for an average human being; however, if an individual notices “painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin”, they should seek immediate medical attention (Zieve 1). An ALL patient may experience headaches, shortness of breaths, tiredness, vomiting, and pale looking skin (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 2).

Multiple tests are conducted to diagnose an individual with ALL. “Blood and bone marrow tests are done to look for leukemic cells “ (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 3). Also, when a patient goes for regular check ups at their oncologists’ office, a complete blood count is used to help with the diagnosis (Hughes). Another test provided for diagnosis is a bone marrow aspirate. A bone marrow aspirate is performed “to take a closer look at the cells in the marrow in order to look for abnormal cells such as blast cells” (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 3). "Blast cells" is a term used to describe a type of blood cell disease caused by young or immature lymphocytes (Hughes). Lastly another test provided is a bone marrow biopsy. A bone marrow biopsy simply gives information about how much disease is in the marrow (“Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia” 3).

When the doctors are discussing possible treatments for a patient, they use information from tests to decide the type of drug therapy a patient needs and how long this possible treatment will last (“Acute...
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