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Leukemia strikes all ages and both sexes. In 1995 approximately 20,400
people died from Leukemia. The all time five year survival rate is 38%. This
rate has gone to 52% in the mid 1980’s. Approximately 25,700 cases were
reported in 1995 alone(American Cancer Society-leukemia, 1995).
Leukemia is a form of cancer in the blood cells. Most forms of Leukemia
occur in the white blood cells. These abnormal cells reproduce in large
quantities and look and perform differently than normal cells(MedicineNet-
Right now the causes of Leukemia are unknown. Some studies have shown that
exposure to high-energy radiation increases chances of contracting leukemia.
Such radiation was produced in the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II.
There is also enough energy in nuclear plants so strict safety precautions are
taken. Some research shows that exposure to electric magnetic fields, such as
power lines and electric appliances, is a possible risk factor. More studies
are needed to prove this link. Some genetic conditions, such as Down’s syndrome,
are also believed to increase the risk factor. Exposure to some chemicals is
also suspected to be a risk factor. By learning the causes of leukemia
treatment options will become available(MedicineNet-leukemia, 1997).
There are many symptoms of leukemia. The symptoms of leukemia are the same
for all the different types of leukemia. The acute types of leukemia, ALL and
AML, symptoms are seen more quickly than in the chronic types of leukemia, CLL
and CML, where symptoms do not necessarily appear right away. The symptoms are
flu symptom, weakness, fatigue, constant infections, easily bleed and bruise,
loss of weight and appetite, swollen lymph nodes, liver or spleen, paleness,
bone or joint pain, excess sweating, swollen or bleeding gums, nosebleeds and
other hemorrhages, and red spots called petechiae located underneath the skin.
In acute Leukemia the cancerous cells may collect around the central nervous
system. The results can include headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle
control, or seizures. These clumps of cancer cells can collect in other various
parts of the body(MedicineNet-leukemia, 1997 and American Cancer Society-
Leukemia can be diagnosed in a number of ways. Blood work is commonly
done in the laboratory. Different forms of blood work include checking the
hemoglobin count, platelet count, or white blood cell count. X-rays
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