Leukemia

By Sophie Kon And Maddy G

What is it ?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. It starts in the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside most bones. Bone marrow is where blood cells are made. Normally blood cells are produced in a controlled way, but when you have leukemia the body produces excess amounts of white blood cells, which do not do what they are supposed to (which is help the body fight infection). They then don't have enough red cells and there body does not receive enough oxygen (anemia).

Relation to Genetic Mutations?

Certain Changes in DNA can cause normal bone marrow cells to become leukemia cells. Acute Myeloid Leukemia, also known as the fast forming leukemia is very different from other kinds of cancer. A study found that the cancerous cells in leukemia patients had an average of 13 mutated genes; in breast or lung tumors, there’s usually several hundred genetic mutations associated with the diseased tissue. In addition, 23 mutated genes cropped up in a significant number of patients, and another 237 mutations were found in at least two patients. Mutations in specific genes are found in many cases of AML, but larger changes in one or more chromosomes are also common



Symptoms and Treatments

  • Lack of normal blood cells
  • Sweating at night
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue/Weakness
  • Weight Loss
  • More susceptible to infections
  • Bleeding
  • Tiny red spots caused by abnormal bleeding
  • Bruising more easily
  • Some cases, people don't have any troublesome symptoms
The main treatments depends on the type of leukemia the most common ways are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This is given to destroy the leukemic cells and allow the bone marrow to function normally again.