Leukemia is an Abnormal Progressive Malignant Disease
Leukemia is an abnormal progressive malignant disease of immature hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. The bone marrow and other blood producing organs are found to produce high numbers of immature or abnormal leukocytes. The production of normal blood cells is inhibited which leads to anemia and other symptoms. Leukemia is classified as being either myeloid or lymphoid and then classified as acute or chronic depending on the rate of cell differentiation. (Huether, McCance 2014)
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is identified by the presence of greater than 30% lymphoblasts in the bone marrow. ALL is found mostly to occur in children with an average age at diagnosis being 13 years old. While this disease is also found in adults, it is not as prevalent. The death rate for adults is much higher than it is among children who are diagnosed with the disease. (Huether, McCance 2014)
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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) involves malignancy of monoclonal B lymphocytes. It is rare to find malignancies of T cells in this type of cancer with a rate of less than 5%. CLL seems to have the highest survival rate spanning around 20-25 years. With the absence of certain genetic mutations in this type of leukemia, the survival rate is much shorter at only around 8-10 years on average. This progressive disease may be asymptomatic for years and usually shows up in the older adult population. (Huether, McCance 2014)
The causes of leukemia are still unknown. In ALL, research has shown that altered DNA is a precursor. Down syndrome and a history of childhood brain tumors have be known to be a factor in the development of ALL as well. Scientists and researches believe that family history of the disease is also a contributing factor and puts one at a greater risk of developing the disease. Radiation and chemical exposure along with certain types of chemotherapy exposure are known risk factors for leukemia.
Altered DNA and family history is also a risk factor in CLL. Scientists believe that other contributing factors in this disease may be age, race, and exposure to radiation and chemicals. There is still much research being conducted to find out the exact cause of leukemias. (Shahriari et al. 2018)