Leukemia is the cancer of the white blood cells. It is also referred to as blood cancer when the white blood cells are abnormally high. It's a kind of cancer that makes the bone marrow produce large number of immature white blood cells that are found in the blood system.
Leukemia came from the Greek words 'leukos' and 'heima' which refers to excess white blood cells in the blood. This disease was officially diagnosed in Edinburg, 1845 by John Hughes but has been on for centuries. It is a fatal cancer disease that affects children and adults with a very bleak survival rate. When old cells in the body die, they are quickly replaced by new ones but in the case of leukemia, the old cells do not die and new ones are subsequently produced increasing more cells in the body and causing blood cancer.
However, when there are excess white blood cells in the body or leukemia, over time the number of blood cells will overcrowd other blood cells and make it difficult for blood to carry out its function. The body's immune systems are also affected and unable to fight infections.
There are 4 major types of leukemia namely chronic myeloid leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. Most forms of acute leukemia are quite risky with a very slim survival rates but can be treated as soon as it's diagnosed early.
Early symptoms of leukemia are as follows;
There could be signs of reoccurring fever which might fail to recede after medication. In such cases it is very difficult to diagnose, due to absence of any bacteria pathogen.
The immune system could be broken down because of the presence of white blood cells thus making the body very feeble to contact diseases such as tuberculosis, candidiasis and so on.
Due to the destruction of the red blood cells, another early signs of leukemia is the presence of tiny red spot mostly seen on the skins or in the oral cavity. An early symptom of leukemia in children includes fatigue, weakness and inability to take part in rigorous physical activities, unexplained swellings, paleness, bone and joint pain and shortness of breath can also be attributed to leukemia.
Other symptoms include kidney problem, loss of libido, excessive sweating, skin rashes, and nausea. Such are symptoms characterized with someone suffering from leukemia and as such it is better to go for blood test as soon as you notice any change in the system and if diagnosed earlier it could be treated on time.
The cure for leukemia
In the 18th century, arsenic was the oldest form of treatment for leukemia before Thomas Fowler invented a solution of potassium bicarbonate and arsenic trioxide which was then known as fowler's solution. It became a standard remedy to treat leukemia and anemia diseases before it was replaced in the 20th century by radiation therapy which has been very helpful in curing leukemia. But today, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, 6-mercaptopurin, and aminopterin, has been replaced with genetic analysis and bone marrow transplant which is considered as the most effective means in curbing the menace of leukemia or cancer of the blood.