In 1845, a malignant cancer in the blood was discovered. This cancer was and still is known as Leukemia. Scientists and doctors were baffled with what the new science and were uncertain how to treat the condition.
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Some called this new discovery an “overabundance of white corpuscles in the blood,” while others said the patient suffered from a “grave blood disease.” The new discovery, Leukemia, has since spread worldwide and affects a multitude of different demographics and a cure has even been discovered; however, there is still no known way to prevent this blood cancer. This is particularly alarming in young children who are not immune from diagnosis. Medical professionals all around the world have the duty of assisting families when this diagnosis occurs and therefore one should know how Leukemia affects the body, signs and symptoms of Leukemia in children, and the risk factors children face with Leukemia.
There is a common belief that Leukemia attacks the body all at once. However, that is not the case. This cancer starts in the soft, inner part of one’s bones, the bone marrow. Then, rapidly moves quickly into the blood. “Almost all childhood Leukemia is acute,” or fast growing (American Cancer Society. 2015). Once the Leukemia cells can no longer mature in a normal way, they then start to produce more rapidly, resulting in cancer cells not dying when need be, crowding out the normal cells. (See Figure 1) After the cancer has reached the bloodstream it “… then can affect the lymph nodes, spleen, central nervous system, and many other organs” (American Cancer Society. 2015). The cancer cells then travel throughout one’s body taking over how cells perform the jobs meant to be completed. This information clearly shows the effect this harsh blood cancer does throughout one’s entire body. The abnormal high levels of white blood cells with Leukemia means the body is being attacked with infection. (See Figure 2) One’s body is unable to “… fight the infection and impair the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and platelets” (American Society of Hematology. 2017).
Knowing what a child may endure is an essential concern, but it is also extremely important to know whether or not a child has Leukemia or just the flu. Signs and symptoms can mean a variety of diagnosis, and that is why it is important to seek a medical provider so the cause can be found and treated, if needed. Leukemia begins with cells building up the bone marrow. “As a result, a child may not have enough normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets” (American Cancer Society. 2016). When the human body has shortages of the specific cells in the body, it then shows up on blood tests. Symptoms then arise from the Leukemia invading other parts of the body. When a child has a low red blood cell count, anemia, fatigue, weakness, feeling cold or dizzy, headaches, and pale skin are all symptoms. When a child is lacking white blood cells they could possibly be prone to a higher risk of infections along with fevers due to the infections. When a child has an infection, it can take an extended period of time to heal because the white blood cells are lacking, making it harder to fight. Platelets, which designate to help stop bleeding, are essential to the body as well. During shortages of platelets in the human body easy bruising can occur, frequent nosebleeds, and bleeding gums. These are all critical health complications that need to always be taken seriously, never taking a child’s life for granted, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
Knowing what Leukemia is and possible signs and symptoms of Leukemia are essential concerns, but it is extremely important to stress anything that affects a person’s chance of developing this cancer. Factors to be aware of include but not limited to; genetic, environmental, and controversial risk factors in one’s life. Unlike adults, children do not have the many years to develop cancer through certain lifestyle-related risk factors. Therefore in adult’s, tobacco use, weight gain, and physical activity play a large role in adulthood cancers. Although, in children, the genes that make up their genetic makeup comes from one’s parents. “While some genetic factors increase the risk of childhood leukemia, most leukemias are not linked to any known genetic causes” (American Cancer Society. 2016). When children endeavor environmental risk factors such as large amounts of chemicals and radiation, the child is more than likely to develop Leukemia within six to eight years. Tests such as CT scans and X-rays are not a known medical diagnosis leading to cancer. Although, when both children and adults treat one cancer with certain chemotherapy drugs, a second cancer can be diagnosed. Sometimes childhood cancer isn’t based on what the child has done. Therefore, a child’s fetal life is put into the hand of the legal guardian’s and what the parents have exposed a child too. For example, contaminated groundwater, living near nuclear power plants, and even the mother smoking during pregnancy. These instances happening would not only increase childhood Leukemia statistics but, increase the need for pediatric hospitals to develop in size to care for the patients. Therefore, it is best to take charge and care for children with the care they deserve to decrease the amount of children being diagnosed with Leukemia.
It is clear that how Leukemia attacks the body is complex along with detecting when one’s child isn’t the same anymore are all scary ideas. Medicine is a growing evolution that nevertheless amazes citizen’s everyday. The fact that abnormal growing cells can take a life, a child’s life is astonishing. All in all, take all the precautions possible to keep a child safe today.
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