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Doctor insights on: Leukemia

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Dr. Liawaty Ho
1,145 Doctors shared insights

Leukemia (Overview)

A malignant hematologic neoplasm that originates in the bone marrow and represents a clonal proliferation of hematopoietic elements belonging to any of the myeloid, lymphoid, erythroid, and megakaryocytic lineages. Of note, other hematologic neoplasms like lymphoma or myeloma may demonstrate a leukemic phase without actually originating in the bone marrow but in lymphoid tissues.


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How does leukemia affect your lymph nodes?

How does leukemia affect your lymph nodes?

It depends: It depends on the type of leukemia. All leukemias affect your immune system, because leukemia is abnormal growth of white blood cells. In acute leukemia, the tumor cells grow in the blood and usually the lymph nodes aren't enlarged. In chronic leukemia, (cll or cml) the lymph nodes can become enlarged from leukemia cells growing within.

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Dr. Liawaty Ho
1,145 Doctors shared insights

Leukemia (Overview)

A malignant hematologic neoplasm that originates in the bone marrow and represents a clonal proliferation of hematopoietic elements belonging to any of the myeloid, lymphoid, erythroid, and megakaryocytic lineages. Of note, other hematologic neoplasms like lymphoma or myeloma may demonstrate a leukemic phase without actually originating in the bone marrow but in lymphoid tissues.


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What are symptoms of leukemia?

What are symptoms of leukemia?

Symptoms.: When someone had leukemia, it causes specific symptoms. These include easy bruising or bleeding, fatigue, fevers. The leukemia affects the blood counts, typically making blood counts very low. Leukemia may also cause swelling of the lymph nodes, liver and spleen.

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What are earlier signs of leukemia?

What are earlier signs of leukemia?

May be few: There may be no symptoms especially with chronic leukemias. Symptoms can include fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath, fevers, infections and night sweats.

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Would a CBC help diagnosis leukemia?

Would a CBC help diagnosis leukemia?

Yes it would: Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, so the white blood counts are effected by leukemia, usually they increase but sometimes they can go down too. Also the hb and platelet counts are also affected by leukemia as it grows in the bone marrow and can compromise the production of all types of blood cells. So a CBC is a good screening test for leukemia diagnosis.

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How do you diagnose leukemia?

How do you diagnose leukemia?

Blood or bone marrow: Typically this s diagnosed by a bone marrow test. In the marrow will be the abnormal proliferation of cells of the same type. At times, these cells in the can "spill" into the blood. When this occurs, the leukemia s diagnosed on blood tests. Even when noticed in the blood, a marrow test is usually performed as well.

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What are the diagnostic tests for acute lymphoblastic leukemia?

Bone marrow biopsy: The diagnosis is typically with a bone marrow biopsy, cytogenetics (dna of leukemia cells), and flow cytometry (cell surface markers of leukemia cells).

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How much time does it take to get blood test results if leukemia is suspected?

Depends: Sometimes very quickly because you can see the abnormal cells on a slide under the microscope from a simple blood draw. Sometimes it requires a bone marrow biopsy. But even if that is done, once the slide a stained, the pathologist can look right away. Hope this helps.

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How can you know if you have leukemia?

How can you know if you have leukemia?

Blood test usually: If you have certain symptoms, blood tests will be done which may show leukemia. These tests may not show the leukemia outright. Either way, if there is. Still concern, a bone marrow test will be done. This test will be able to determine if the symptoms are leukemia or not.

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What causes leukemia?

Leukemia cause: We don't know for sure. Leukemia develops as the consequence of a series of genetic changes in blood cell offsprings. These changes alter normal growth and differentiation of the cells, resulting in an accumulation of abnormal, immature blood cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood. Exposure to chemicals, radiation, tobacco, or chemotherapy, infection, etc have been associated with leukemia.

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Do bone marrow aspirations mean leukemia?

Do bone marrow aspirations mean leukemia?

No: We do them for several reasons including evaluation for an abnormal cbc. Sometimes we are concerned about leukemia but the other reasons include the following: anemia, low platelets, staging of lymphoma, monitoring therapy. Hope this helps.

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Is adult leukemia treatable and if you have a sibling what are the chances of them being a good donor?

Is adult leukemia treatable and if you have a sibling what are the chances of them being a good donor?

Yes, 25%: Yes, adult leukemia are treatable. The treatment would depend on the type of leukemia, the biology of the leukemia etc. -the formula for calculating the chances of a particular person having an hla-matched sibling is 1? (0.75)n, where n denotes the number of potential sibling donors. In general, a patient with one sibling has a 25% chance of having a match.

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Do you treat leukemia differently in a child than an adult?

Do you treat leukemia differently in a child than an adult?

More intensive chemo: Yes, chemotherapy regimens for pediatric acute leukemia are usually much more intensive and the dose usually is higher than the chemo for adult patients. Children are much tougher than how they look. They get higher dose of chemo and more intensive, but they tolerate them very well and would bounch back right away.

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Help! Is it possible to have children if you are being treated for leukemia?

Help! Is it possible to have children if you are being treated for leukemia?

Yes: Ask your oncologist about fertility sparing regimens if you want to have children. There are a variety of ways to spare child bearing ability if you have leukemia from freezing sperm to harvesting eggs to using chemotherapy and radiation that reduces side effects on reproductive organs. Lots depends on your type of leukemia, age, etc. So it important to ask your oncologist for your specifics....

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How long is a typical treatment for leukemia?

How long is a typical treatment for leukemia?

Depends on type....: There are many types of leukemia (all, aml, cml, cll) and each have different treatment regimens. Age also plays a factor (adult vs. Pediatric treatment protocols). For example, AML is intensive, but relatively short (~9 months). All can be 3-4 years. CML treatment can be lifelong, though is can be treated with oral pills taken daily.

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What are treatments available for leukemia?

What are treatments available for leukemia?

Follow the advice...: Of your hematologist/oncologist. First step is a specific diagnosis, and from there they can formulate a plan of care and address whether there might be a clinical trial that you are eligible for. Once you begin therapy, there will be much to pay attention to, but following protocol directed therapy as closely as possible (with possible mods by your dr) is important. Open communication is key!

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How can stem cell transplants actually cure leukemia?

It is one of the bes: Stem cell transplants do indeed cure some leukemias. The procedure requires total body radiation, high dose chemotherapy to kill all blood cells (including leukemia cells) and then we use stem cells to regenerate the normal bone marrow in order to form new healthy blood cells.

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How often does a bone marrow transplant not get rid of the leukemia?

Variable: The success rate of a transplant is dependent on many factors: the type of leukemia, some genetic factors about the leukemia, current remission status, prior therapies, type of transplant and other medical problems of the patient.

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