What is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia?
This is a type of cancer that originates in the bone marrow and quickly spreads into the bloodstream. The bone marrow is the spongy internal part of the bones that are responsible for producing new blood. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia influences just the white platelets.
The disease is caused by the mutations in a white blood cell due to which it multiplies uncontrollably. The name for this mutated cell is called ‘blast’ which first spreads to take over the bone marrow and then slowly progresses to the normal blood cell. Once a blast develops it generates billions of other blasts and by the time of diagnosis, there are about a trillion leukemia cells present in the blood.
What are the signs and symptoms of leukemia:
Leukemia just crowds out the normal blood cells and reduces their number, this rapidly decreases the number of normal blood cells and causes leukemia. The symptoms are as follows,
- Being very drained and pale because of the number of red platelets being diminished, iron deficiency
- Increased temperature because there are no white blood cells to fight against the invasions that are happening in the body, neutropenia
- Bruising due to unexplained reasons and bleeding from decreased platelets known as thrombocytopenia
- Pain in the bone and joins, swelling of the joints happen
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- The lymph nodes are enlarged
Most children having ALL exhibit similar signs and symptoms while some can be a common effect of various other illnesses while some can be indicators of cancer. However, it is better to consult your doctor immediately once you notice these symptoms. Children who were diagnosed with leukemia during its early stages had higher chances of getting cured than those who were delayed. Symptoms though are not outwardly manifested, they are present even months before it could be determined as cancer. The chances of cure are not based on the amount of time between the recognition of the symptoms and the diagnosis.
How can acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia be diagnosed?
To diagnose this condition, a number of tests are done on the child. The first test that is usually done is the blood test, in order to understand the count of the healthy blood cells. Though the presence of leukemia cells will help determine the practitioner that the child is suffering from. A sample of bone marrow also needs to be tested in order to confirm the exact diagnosis that needs to be given. The diagnosis is dined by performing a procedure known as the bone marrow aspirate where a small amount of the fluid from the bone marrow is taken. This fluid is then placed under the microscope to confirm the exact type of cancer and to provide treatments based on that.
Extra tests are additionally brought with the bone marrow suction called the bone marrow biopsy. This is done in cases where there are very few healthy cells available in the aspirate sample.
How do you determine the extent of the disease the child is suffering from?
Unlike other solid tumor cancers, there are no ‘stages’ in leukemia. The diagnosis of leukemia is also widespread but there is no disturbance for a successful treatment. But to predict how well a hold will respond to treatment there are prognostic indicators for ALL. This includes taking into account the number of white blood cells present in the child’s blood before treatment, their age at diagnosis, levels of leukemia cells in the spinal fluid, mutations in the cells, and the patient’s response to the first cycle of chemotherapy.
Some cases of leukemia indicate the cells to be found in the spinal fluid and it is known as a Central nervous system disease. To differentiate one from the other, a special test known as a spinal tap or lumbar puncture will be done. Here a small amount of the spinal fluid is taken. This indicates whether the disease has spread to the spinal fluid or not.
Though ALL originates in the bone marrow, it also spreads to various other areas that are part of the blood system too. This can cause certain organs to enlarge too. Apart from that, it can also affect the
- Lymph nodes
- Central nervous system
What are the types of treatment?
Once the type of leukemia is determined, a treatment plan will be drafted out for you. The therapy plans are methodical as lymphoblastic leukemia is a sort of blood cancer. During the diagnosis, the healthcare specialists will insert central lines into the body. The mainstay of the treatment is chemotherapy.
This is the first phase of the treatment and it lasts for four weeks. During this time the children are to take three or four drugs orally, intravenously or it is given directly into the spinal fluid. The drug combination is customized based on the particular diagnosis plan. The primary goals of this initial phase are to kill the leukemia cells and allow for the regrowth and enhanced production of the normal blood cells.
Toward the end of the primary stage, a bone marrow suction is finished. Here a little example of the youngster’s bone marrow is inspected under a magnifying lens. Once there is no evidence of the presence of leukemia cells in the bone marrow, it means that the first round of the treatment was successful. This is considered remission. The next phase of cancer treatment involves destroying the remaining cancer cells that are left in the bone marrow, doing so ensures that they don’t multiply further and allows the spread of cancer. Remission is an important step toward the road to recovery.
What are the after effects of ALL treatments?
The effects of ALL depend on the type of therapy used and the age at which the child underwent the therapy in addition to various other factors.
A few assets are accessible to help youth cancer survivors. The Childhood Cancer Survivor Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines that are accessible at ww.survivorshipguidelines.org has a bunch of screening rules to help the medical care suppliers. It also helps the patients to manage their ongoing health conditions.
To equip oneself with the knowledge of some of the most common issues of concern to survivors of ALL, click and read through any of the following.
You can likewise find out about a portion of the more normal issues of worry to overcomers of acute lymphoblastic leukemia by tapping on any of the accompanyings:
- Keeping your bones sound after youth disease
- Thyroid issues after youth cancer
- Endocrine issues after youth cancer
- Connective Necrosis
- Dental issues after youth cancer