Leukmia in Our Lives Today

November 1, 2009
By Anonymous

In the United States, there are twenty thousand new cases of Leukemia each year. Leukemia accounts for five percent of all cancers (Shainman 1). Although there is no cure for cancer, in depth experiments are tested each year.
Leukemia is a form of cancer that damages the body’s ability to make blood cells. The results include an inability to fight off disease, improper clotting of blood flowing injury, loss if energy, and death (Shainman 2). No one knows the causes of Leukemia, but radiation, viruses, chemicals, and genetic factors all may be involved in its development (Shainman 3). People exposed to very high levels of radiation are much more likely than others to develop Leukemia. When people are open to radiation, this causes the blood cells to loose energy. Leukemia is diagnosed by physical exams, blood tests, biopsies, and more. After tested treatment can lead to other health problems. Patients receive supportive care to prevent and control these problems (Lill 6). Since cancer treatment may damage healthy cells and tissues, unwanted side effects are common.
Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. Depending on the number of abnormal cells, and where these cells collect, patients with Leukemia may have a large number of symptoms. Leukemia cells tend to crowd out the normal blood cells. Symptoms can lead to serious problems such as anemia, bleeding, and infections (Swanson 2). The types of Leukemia are grouped by how quickly the disease develops and gets worse. Leukemia is either chronic, which means the symptoms slowly get worse, or acute when the symptoms rise each day. With chronic Leukemia, the disease forms abnormal blood cells, although blood cells in acute Leukemia are still able to do their work (Lill 1). All forms of Leukemia have common characteristics, but they develop and behave differently than others. Each year seven-thousand cases of acute Myelogenous Leukemia is recognized each year in the United States. About eight-thousand-two hundred new cases of chronic lymphocytic Leukemia is diagnosed in the United States each year (Thomas 6). Acute Myelogenous Leukemia occurs most commonly among people over the age of forty.

Treatments of Leukemia includes: Chemotherapy, radiation treatments, stem cell transplant, and biological therapy (Thomas 7). Chemotherapy is the roughest of all treatments because it uses medicines to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses high doses of x-rays to destroy cancer cells and to shrink swollen lymph nodes (Newton 4). Stem cell transplant is also a harsh treatment for patients because once you get one donated, long hours of destroying cancer cells will take place. Biological therapy uses special medicines to help improve your body’s natural defense against cancer (Swanson 10). At one time, no treatment existed for leukemia, and people often died within a few weeks, or months after being diagnosed with the disease. Treatments can be the most difficult period in ones struggle with cancer. At first, it’s very rough, but a couple of weeks after being treated the patient will soon start feeling better for short periods of time (Shainman 6). Today thanks to efforts of medical researches, living a long healthy life after successful treatment is no longer unusual. Many can be completely cured after treatment.
Leukemia was first recognized by the great German biologist Rudolf Virchow in 1845(Johnson 9). In conducting an autopsy, Virchow referred to the conditions at first as Weisses Blut, German for “White Blood.” Virchow then later suggested a new name, Leukemia, for the name Leukemia comes from two Greek words that also mean “White Blood.” Soon after, Rudolf became the first person also to describe the two major types of Leukemia, Lymphatic and Myeloid (Johnson 10). An early explanation for the cause of Leukemia was offered in 1913 by the Italian pathologist Guido Banti (Thomas 9). Banti showed that Leukemia occurs when single blood cells in a bone marrow begin to reproduce rapidly without maturing. When the maturing state happens, people will start feeling symptoms immediately such as: Fevers or night sweats, frequent infections, feeling weak or tired, having headache’s, bleeding or bruising very easily, pain in the bones or joints, and rapid weight loss (Lill 2). The symptoms of Leukemia are a sign that a person’s immune system has been damaged and can no longer fight of small illnesses such as colds, sinus headaches, the stomach flue, and more (Swanson 6). The immune system consists of all the cells and chemicals the body uses to protect itself against infection.
When people go through remission or when the body is completely done from fighting of cancer, and there is a period of time when there is nothing else possible to fight off without killing healthy cells people begin feeling weightless and very weak. It is always good to get a second evaluation and opinion on the diagnosis. Research and tests results have been proven positive several times when previous results have shown them differently. People diagnosed with any form of cancer should see many different doctors, Physicians, and health specialists to make sure that their results are completely correct. A diagnosis of Leukemia is no longer a reason to give up hope. Rather, it’s the signal that patients should start fighting for their lives and taking any precautions as recommended by their doctor.

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece to inform young teenagers how effective and common leukemia is. From personal experiences i thought i should write a paper to help people understand what cancer/leukemia is and how to save your own life.

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