Leukemia

Monday, June 23, 2014

Leukemia is cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this disease in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Leukemia is cancer of the blood and bone marrow. People of any age can get it, and the cause is not clear. If you have had blood or bone marrow cancer before, you may be more likely to get it.

The most common childhood leukemia is called acute lymphoblastic leukemia. People with this type may have fever, tiredness, bleeding, bruising, bone pain, and a swollen liver or spleen. The most common leukemia in adults is acute myelogenous leukemia. This can cause fever, tiredness, weight loss, bleeding and bruising.

Two other types, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia, occur mostly in older adults. Many people do not have symptoms, but they may have a swollen liver, spleen or lymph nodes.

Treatment depends on a persons age, health and the type of leukemia. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplant or medicine to kill the cancer cells. Persons with chronic lymphocytic leukemia can be monitored without treatment if they do not have symptoms and their blood counts are stable.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.