Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), or as it sometimes known, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is cancer that is located in the bone marrow. According to the Mayo Clinic, acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer. Despite this statistic, when children are diagnosed and treated during the early phases of ALL, there is a very good chance at their being cured. However, when adults are diagnosed with this type of cancer, the chance of the cancer being cured is substantially lowered.
There aren’t necessarily any precautions that can be taken in order to lessen the chances of being diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, but there are some factors that can play a part in lessening the chance of its diagnosis.
Like all cancers, leukemia begins with an error in cellular formation. Cells are designed to grow, divide, and die. However, specifically in acute lymphocytic leukemia, when cancerous cells grow within the bone marrow, they grow, replicate, but continue living. With this abnormality in cell growth, the cancerous and unhealthy cells (the ones that won’t die) occupy space that should be occupied by healthy cells. So, instead of the marrow growing and strengthening with healthy blood cells, the bone marrow is built with leukemia-ridden white blood cells.
There aren’t necessarily any precautions that can be taken in order to lessen the chances of being diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, but there are some factors that can play a part in lessening its diagnosis.
Radiation treatments from previous cancers as well as exposure to high levels of radiation have been known to start the development of cancerous cells. In addition to the radiation, acute lymphocytic leukemia can be contracted through a genetic mishap or if a sibling (typically a twin) has contracted acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Symptoms can include:
- pale skin;
- frequent nosebleeds;
- bone aches and pains;
- shortness of breath;
- bleeding from the gums; and
- swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, around the neck, abdomen, or groin area.
Some of these symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, aches, and swollen lymph nodes, are exactly the same as the symptoms for your typical flu. The way that you can tell the difference between acute lymphocytic leukemia and the flu is by the length of time that you or your child are affected by these symptoms. If the sickness lingers for longer than a usual flu (about a week or so), make an appointment with a doctor and have those symptoms checked out.