By Beth Greenwood, Marin Arnold and Rachel Meader


Leukemia is when the bone marrow produces three different types of cells at an unorganized and abnormal rate. This causes the blood cell level to be unbalanced and unhealthy. These three cell types are called red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Are all produced in the center of the bone marrow. (Edward D Ball)

Leukemia: What is leukemia? | Norton Cancer Institute
Source: What is Leukemia? Norton Cancer Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.


Leukemia symptoms are caused because the leukemia cells interfere with the production of regular blood cells that are needed to be healthy. Leukemia causes a blood cell shortage. Some symptoms often related to a blood cell shortage range anywhere from feeling tired to infections that are hard to get rid of. Some of the other common symptoms that go along with a blood cell shortage are feelings of weakness, nausea, shortness of breath, fevers, nosebleeds, and easy bruising. People who are diagnosed with leukemia have also reported weight loss and loss of appetite, although this can not directly be linked to the shortage of blood cells.( Dr. Gordon D. McLaren)

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Fig. 1 Common Symptoms of Leukemia (American Cancer Society)

Affect on Victims

Even once people are cured from leukemia it is hard for them to fully move on due to fear of relapse or bad memories. During treatments or after treatment patients might feel alone or not understood if this happens the survivor/patient should talk to some type of health professional. (Guger Sharon, PhD)


There were an estimated 54,270 new cases of Leukemia in the U.S in 2015 and out these cases approximately a total of 24,450 of the victims will die. leukemia accounts for about 13.3 cases out of 100,000 cancer cases (National Cancer Institute). Leukemia is one of the leading types of cancer, especially in children, an estimated 1/3 of childhood cancer cases are a type of Leukemia (Ferrara).

Fig. 2 Leukemia (National Cancer Institute)

How it is Diagnosed

There are three tests the are used to diagnose Leukemia, first an initial physical exam then a blood test and to confirm the diagnosis a bone marrow test. In the initial physical exam doctors look for enlarged lymph nodes, bleeding or bruising and signs of an enlarged spleen or liver. A blood test is done to see the white blood cells to red blood cells ratio, if there are too many white blood cells then further testing will be done to confirm the diagnosis. A final bone marrow test is done and two bone marrow samples are taken typically from pelvic bones and these tests will show if there are Leukemia cells in the bone marrow (American Cancer Society).

Possible Causes of Leukemia

Although there is not one definite cause of Leukemia, there are a few possible causes that are being further studied to find the precise cause. When fighting infections the body's first defense is to build up more white blood cells and in some cases it can cause the body to over produce white blood cells and it will affect the white blood cell to red blood cell ratio (Gale Science in Context Academic Journals). Another potential cause is over exposure to radiation which typically has a delayed reaction where patient is diagnosed several years after initial exposure. Simple things such as not enough physical activity, a bad diet and use of alcohol and drugs has been proven to increase your risk of developing Leukemia (American Cancer Society).

How Leukemia Spreads

Leukemia cells begin to spread rapidly once some of the blood cells become mutated, and even though they are mutated, they do not die like how a normal cell would. Eventually, the mutated cancer cells outnumber the healthy cells in the blood. This will also result in less white blood cells and platelets. Once this happens, the signs and symptoms will begin to occur.

Fig. 6 Blood Cells (American Cancer Society)


Many factors contribute to help determine how to treat this rare disease, such as age, health, and the specific type of leukemia. All of these treatments are done through therapy. There are four different types of leukemia, which are all treated differently, general through treatments ranging from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to treatments involving stem cell transplantation or blood transfusions.
Fig. 7 What is Leukemia? (American Cancer Society)


There is no cure for cancer, but treatments have contributed to an increasing survival rate of 60.3 percent in 2004-2010, when in 1960-1963, the survival rate was only 14% percent.

Rachel's Sources

Works Cited

Ball, Edward D. “Human Diseases and Conditions.” American Cancer Society. Ed. Miranda Herbert Ferrara. 1-10. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?sort=RELEVANCE&inPS=true&prodId=GVRL&userGroupName=amhe95753rpa&tabID=T003&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=1&contentSet=GALE%7CCX2830200258&&docId=GALE%7CCX2830200258&docType=GALE&u=amhe95753rpa&authCount=2>.

“Cancer Treatment Center of America.” cancercenter.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015. <http://www.cancercenter.com/leukemia/symptoms/>.

Guger, Sharon, PhD, and Norma D’Agastino, PhD. “Social And Emotional Effects.” Aboutkidshealth.ca. N.p., 25 Jan. 2010. Web. 19 Dec. 2015. <http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/ResourceCentres/Leukemia/LookingAheadforLeukemiaSurvivors/Pages/SocialandEmotionalEffects.aspx>.

McLaren, Gordon D., Dr. Leukimia. Ed. Lisa Tarnis Bieder, Rn. N.p.: Rosen Publishing Group, 2015. Teen Health and Wellness: Real Life, Real Answers. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. <http://www.teenhealthandwellness.com/app?service=externalpagemethod&page=main/ViewDocument&method=view&sp=206&sp=Sbody&sp=1&sp=Sleukemia>.

“Signs and symptoms of acute leukemia.” American Cancer Society. Rev. 11215. N.p., 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemia-acutelymphocyticallinadults/detailedguide/leukemia-acute-lymphocytic-signs-symptoms>.


One good resource that I picked for this project is the article What is Leukemia on the data base Teen Health and Wellness. The author of this article Dr. Gordon McLaren currently specializes in Hematology, Medical Oncology, and Oncology. He has to board certifications in Hematology and Internal Medicine and is currently performing bone marrow procedures. All of the things I just mentioned shows he is informed on the topic and has a medical background to support his information in the article. This article was from a database Teen Health and Wellness and was very straightforward and unbiased the main focus was definitely communicating facts to the reader . This article was written in 2014 but had been Reviewed by Lisa Tamis-Bieder, RN on june of 2015 making me feel confident about the currency of the article. This article was very informative on Leukemia and was written in a way that was clear to understand.

Beth's Sources

Works Cited

"Childhood Leukemia." American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/detailedguide/childhood-leukemia-diagnosis>.

Ferrara, Miranda Herbert, ed. Human Diseases and Conditions. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2010. Print. This specific source came from Gale Science in Context database, it provided a large portion of the the information needed to answer the sub essential questions of the project. The Editor of this online book, Miranda Ferrara is the Senior Content Project Editor at Gale she has been working for this database for over a decade and she has received several accolades for articles she has both edited and written. The Gale Cengage Learning has been a dependable and reliable source for students and teachers for several decades and it has continuously provided recent accurate information on various scientific topics. The main purpose of the database is to provide the public with accurate and reliable information, so I do not think that there is any bias in the book. The information found in this book is only a few years old so it provides information that is for the majority accurate and up to date. Although there are always studies to find cures for this cancer the information on this topic has changed very little in the past few years, therefore the information the book contains is very reliable. The information in this book was very similar to the information I found in other sources on Leukemia. Overall this book became very useful and essential to the success in my research and it ensured that the information i was gathering was accurate.

"Infectious etiologies of childhood leukemia: plausibility and challenges to proof." Gale Science in Context (Environmental Health Perspectives). N.p., 2007. Web. 22 Dec. 2015. <http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/scic/AcademicJournalsDetailsPage/AcademicJournalsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=SCIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&display-query=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Journals&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=true&displayGroups=&sortBy=&search_within_results=&p=SCIC&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CA160557724&source=Bookmark&u=amhe95753rpa&jsid=69282e8a00ed4a08ab0d3e79d957cc5f>.

"Leukemia." National Cancer Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015. <http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/leuks.html>.

"What Are Risk Factors For Childhood Leukemia?" American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/detailedguide/childhood-leukemia-risk-factors>.

What is Leukemia? Norton Cancer Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBHmcp-axvM>.

"What is Leukemia?" University of California Moore's Cancer Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015. <http://bcrf.ucsd.edu/?page_id=20>.