“LEUKEMIA” CANCER OF THE BLOOD
“You have to realize that every well person is a miracle, it takes billions of cells to make up a person, and it will only take one cell to be bad to destroy the whole person”, this quote is from Barbara Bush from one of her past interviews about a daughter she lost with leukemia (Cunningham, 1988). This quote reminded me five years ago, when my niece was diagnosed with leukemia. She does not only have one bad cell inside her body but she has extra 330,000 counts of white blood cells that are not normal. It was summer of year 2008 when my niece who is freshmen in high school was diagnosed with leukemia or cancer of the blood. Leukemia is a cancer that starts in the tissue that forms blood and affects the bone marrow (Anonymous A, 2012). Leukemia is found in white blood cells or leukocytes which characterized by an abnormal increase in white blood cells called “blast”, they do not fully form as they should and thereby blocking production of functioning blood cells. Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don’t die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work (Anonymous A 2012). Experiencing this type of cancer in our family makes me realize how a healthy body is truly a blessing that everybody should appreciate and learn how to take care of. Leukemia may not be the worst cancer we have right now, but many people of all ages suffer from this disease. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2012), an estimated 274,930 people in the United States are living with or are in remission from Leukemia and an estimated 44,600 new cases of leukemia are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2011. It is also said that leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children and adolescents and is the tenth most frequently occurring type cancer of all races or ethnicities (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 2012). Leukemia is a cancer that has a significant effect on our society, it is a non-sexist or ageist cancer that we should be aware of and be educated more on.
I. HISTORY OF LEUKEMIA
Leukemia was first observed in 1845 by a pathologist named Rudolf Virchow. He observed an abnormal large number of white blood cells in a blood sample from a patient and called this condition “Leukamie” in German, which he formed from the two Greek words leukos, meaning “white” and aima, meaning “blood”. Ten years after this discovery, another pathologist, Franz Ernst Christian Neumann found that a deceased leukemia patient’s bone marrow was colored “dirty green-yellow” as opposed normal red colored. This finding helped Neumann to conclude that a bone marrow problem was responsible for the abnormal blood leukemia patients. In 1947 pathologist Sydney Farber believed from past experiments that administering, a folic acid mimic, could potentially cure leukemia for children. In 1962, researchers Emil J. Freireich Jr. and Emil Frei III used combination of chemotherapy to attempt to cure leukemia, the test were successful with some patients surviving long after the tests (Patlak, 1998).
II. FOUR TYPES OF LEUKEMIA
Leukemia is grouped by how quickly the disease develops (acute or chronic), as well as by the type of blood cells that is affected (lymphocytes or myelocytes) (Anonymous A. 2012). Acute leukemia cells increases rapidly and usually worsens quickly than chronic leukemia. There are four main types of leukemia which includes acute lymphocytic leukemia “ALL”, chronic lymphocytic leukemia “CLL”, acute myelocytic leukemia “AML”, and chronic myelocytic leukemia “CML”. * Chronic lymphocytic leukemia “CLL” is the most common type of leukemia (Bazell, 2011). It affects the lymphoid cells and usually grows slowly or gets worst slowly. It is also sometimes referred to as chronic lymphoblast leukemia (Anonymous B, 2012). Most often, people diagnosed with this type of leukemia...
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