Leukemia Essay

1985 words - 8 pages

LeukemiaLeukemia is a devastating disease that many people, mainly children worldwide suffer from. The word Leukemia originated from the Greek word leukos, which means white, and the word aima, meaning blood. Leukemia is cancer of the blood or bone marrow. The bone marrow produces white blood cells in the body. Individuals who suffer from Leukemia have an abnormal production of blood cells, generally white blood cells which are damaged and take over, leaving very little space for normal, functioning cells in the body (Nordqvist).Our blood consists of a fluid called plasma, and three types of cells. Each of these types carries out a different function in the body. Red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to the tissues in the body and take carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs, white blood cells help the body fight diseases and infection, and platelets help clot blood to prevent excessive bleeding ("Information on Leukemia"). Blood cells are made in the bone marrow, which is "the soft inner part of some bones such as the skull, shoulder blades, ribs, pelvis, and backbones. The bone marrow is made up of a small number of blood stem cells, more mature blood-forming cells, fat cells, and supporting tissues that help cells grow" (Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic). Generally, the body produces blood cells in an controlled way as it needs them, to keep itself healthy.Cancer forms when normal cell's DNA is damaged. A cell's DNA directs all the cell's actions and can be damaged by various mistakes that can occur while a cell is reproducing or by environmental factors although, there is no clear cause. Interestingly, not all cells that have damaged DNA become cancer cells; normally, a cell can repair its DNA, and if it cannot, it dies. What is strange about cancer cells, is that they do not repair their DNA and they do not die either. Cancer cells simply go on reproducing, and creating more and more damaged cells that are useless to the body (Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic). When Leukemia develops, the body produces huge amounts of abnormal white blood cells.There are several types of Leukemia and they are grouped based on how quickly the disease progresses or based on the type of white blood cell that is affected. According to "Leukemia", "Leukemia is either chronic (which usually gets worse slowly) or acute (which usually gets worse quickly). In Chronic Leukemia, the leukemia cells can perform some tasks that a normal white blood cell can; however chronic leukemia slowly gets worse as more and more abnormal cells take over the body. Patients do not usually experience any symptoms early on in the disease but as the disease progresses, patients may experience infections or swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms are usually mild when they first appear and get worse over time. In acute leukemia, the abnormal cells cannot perform any of the tasks a normal white blood cell would and therefore the disease gets worse very quickly ("Leukemia").The different...

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