Leukemia

By: Genevive Shortt and Dylan Carlson

What is the Definition?

Leukemia is a cancer that occurs in blood, specifically white blood cells. This cancer causes the white blood cells to multiply rapidly with an abnormal shape. There are overall groups of Leukemia: acute and chronic. Acute leukemia progresses very quickly and usually affects children, chronic leukemia has a slower progression (Hammar).

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(“What Is Leukemia?” highfivesforhope.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. )

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of Leukemia include:

  • Fevers
  • Bone joint pain
  • Bleeding
  • Blood hemorrhaging
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

( Laura Flynn, Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition)

How common is it?

Leukemia is more common in children than adults. "It accounts for almost 1 in 3 cancers in children". Most leukemias in children are proven to be acute, "About 3 out of 4 leukemias among children and teens are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)". ("How Common Is Childhood Leukemia?")
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("Children with a Blood Cancer." Leukemia Foundation. Leukaemia Foundation Australia, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.)


How is it diagnosed?

Leukemia is identified by the patient having a disproportionate amount of leukocytes. This info is found through a bone marrow biopsy. Treatment is then decided by age and progression of the disease. (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition)
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(“Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment.” cancer.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015)

What are the causes?

Leukemia is possibly caused by different chemicals, radiation, certain drugs, and Down syndrome or other related disorders, as well as a retroviruses, such as a relative of the AIDS virus. (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition)

What happens at the cellular and molecular level?

The two types of Leukemia cells are Lymphocytic and Myeloid. Both can be either chronic or acute. Myeloid leukemia affect the growth of granulocytes, which are a form of white blood cell. (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition)
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(Chan, Amanda L. "White Blood Cells May Play Role In Spread Of Cancer." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.)


What are the treatments?

Allogenic Cell Transplantation (or blood/bone marrow transplantation) is a treatment that ensures the Leukemia cancer will not come back. However this treatment plan is incredibly risky and often ends in death (Wiskemann). If all goes well the donor's stem cells will attack the cancerous cells and erase them form the body. Sometimes the donor's cells actually attack the patient's normal cells which leads to numerous horrible side affects ("Dr. Wu Is Working towards a Future without Blood Cancers").

Other treatments include (“Blood Test” ):


  • chemotherapy (radiation)
  • blood transfusions
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("Nano-superstructures May Bring Safer Chemo." › News in Science (ABC Science). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.)


Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Animation

(Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Animation. youtube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nCvItKbEns>.)


Works Consulted:

Wiskemann, Joachim, et al. "Physical Exercise Training versus Relaxation in Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (PETRA Study) ? Rationale and design of a randomized trial to evaluate a yearlong exercise intervention on overall survival and side-effects after allogeneic stem cell transplantation." BMC Cancer 15 (2015): 619. Science in Context. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

Hammar, Lawrence. "Leukemia." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 5th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. Science in Context. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

"Dr. Wu Is Working towards a Future without Blood Cancers." Gknation. LLS, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

"How Common Is Childhood Leukemia?" How Common Is Childhood Leukemia? American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.

Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. Q2 2015, p1-1. 1p.

McCarthy, Laura Flynn. "The quiet cancers." Prevention Sept. 2008: 205. Science in Context. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Animation. youtube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nCvItKbEns>.

“Blood Test.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. Q2 2015, p1-1. 1p. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=39047827&site=src-live>.

“Leukemia.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. Q2 2015, p1-1. 1p. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. .

Chan, Amanda L. "White Blood Cells May Play Role In Spread Of Cancer." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

“Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment.” cancer.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <http://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/adult-aml-treatment-pdq>.

“What Is Leukemia?” highfivesforhope.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <http://highfivesforhope.org/awareness/what-is-leukemia/>.

"Children with a Blood Cancer." Leukemia Foundation. Leukaemia Foundation Australia, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

"Nano-superstructures May Bring Safer Chemo." › News in Science (ABC Science). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.