Leukemia is the cancer of white blood cells resulting in abnormal multiplication of immature cancerous WBC in the body. Researchers presently don’t know what causes Leukemia? However, many believe that it is caused due to mutation in the DNA of the WBC. The function of WBC in to provide immunity but even after high level of WBC in the blood it does not provide immunity because it is immature and doesn’t function properly. Fast multiplication of WBC causes lack of space in the bone marrow so there is no space left for RBC and platelets.
As a result body has a shortage of essential oxygen carrying cells and your blood may not clot after injuries or during internal bleeding. There are mainly two types of Leukemia acute and chronic. Symptoms of chronic Leukemia may not appear for years but acute Leukemia spreads very fast and shows the signs within few weeks.
There are many factors which increases the risk of leukemia which are listed but even if these factors are absent a person may suffer from leukemia on the other hand it is not necessary that every person exposed to these factors will suffer from Leukemia
What Causes Leukemia
Smoking increases the risk of all types of cancerous diseases hence those who are chain smokers are more prone to suffer from Leukemia. The risk of a person suffering from Leukemia is almost three times in comparison to normal people.
If you are having cancer and presently undergoing chemotherapy then you may have higher chances of suffering from the disease in future. Particular drugs like alkylating agents have been found to cause Leukemia after many years.
Down syndrome refers to a genetic condition which is caused due to abnormal cell division during fertilization which leads to irregular or extra chromosome in the cells. Many people having this syndrome have also been found to suffer from Leukemia.
Exposure To Radiations
Exposure to high level of radiations increases the risk of Leukemia. Patients who undergo radiation therapies to get treated may suffer from Leukemia after few years. However if the radiations are only used for diagnosis then it will not cause Leukemia because it is very low intensity.
Exposure To Chemicals
People working in such conditions where they are regularly exposed to formaldehyde or benzene which is present in gasoline are at higher risk of suffering from Leukemia. It generally causes acute leukemia
Myelodysplastic syndrome is a kind of heart disease which has been found to increase the chances of Leukemia in the patient. However, most of the patients suffering from this syndrome are not affected by Leukemia.
Human T cell Leukemia virus 1(HTLV-1)
A person infected by this particular virus is at greater risk of suffering from Leukemia. It causes a very rare kind of Leukemia called Human T-cell Leukemia. It is a chronic Leukemia and symptoms may appear after several years of being affected.
As we don’t know what causes leukemia it is important to know the risk factors and whether we come under it or not. If you see any symptoms of leukemia and have any of the risk factors then you must report it to your doctor. Doctors diagnose Leukemia by doing blood tests and bone marrow test. They may diagnose chronic leukemia during regular blood test.
There are various treatment options available for leukemia. Chemotherapy kills the leukemia cells with the help of chemicals and radiation therapy is targeted directly on the cells to damage and stop the growth of the cells. Bone marrow transplant or stem transplant too is very effective to completely remove the leukemia cells from the body.