Leukemias are the most common childhood cancers. They account for about 30% of all cancers in children. Leukemia is the cancer of the blood cells caused by a rise in the number of white blood cells body. They over crowd the red blood cells and platelets body needs to be healthy. All those extra white blood cells don’t work right, and that causes problems. There is really nothing you can do to prevent leukemia.
It is usually thought of as a children’s condition, but it actually affects more adults. It is more common in men than women.
TYPES OF CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA
Almost all cases of childhood leukemia are acute, which means they develop rapidly. Few are chronic and develop slowly.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), also called acute lymphocytic leukemia. Is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Is a type of blood cancer that usually begins in cells that turn into white blood cells. Sometimes, though, AML can start in other types of blood-forming cells.
Hybrid or mixed lineage leukemia. Is a clinical entity that includes: biphenotypic leukemia, characterized by the presence of markers of more than two lineages of a single tumor cell, bilineage leukemia, a combination of more than two lineage markers on two distinct blast cells, and biclonal leukemia, the concomitancy of more than two.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in adults. It’s a type of cancer that starts in cells that become certain white blood cells (called lymphocytes) in the bone marrow. The cancer (leukemia) cells start in the bone marrow but then go into the blood.
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). Is a rare childhood cancer that usually happens in children younger than 2 years old. In JMML, too many myelocytes and monocytes (two types of WBCs) are produced from immature blood stem cells called blasts.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Fatigue or pale skin
- Infections and fever
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Extreme fatigue or weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Bone or joint pain
- Swelling in the abdomen, face, arms, underarms, sides of neck, or groin
- Swelling above the collarbone
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Headaches, seizures, balance problems, or abnormal vision
- Gum problems
- Syndromes including Down syndrome, Fanconi anemia or other genetic syndromes.
- Having another form of bone marrow disease.
- Having a sibling with leukemia, especially an identical twin.
- High-level radiation exposure (which can occur from treatment of a previous cancer).
- Chemotherapy drugs and other chemicals, like benzene.
- Immune suppression therapy (such as for recipients) organ transplant.
Initial tests may include;
- Blood tests like blood film picture
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy.
- Lumbar puncture or spinal tap.
This may involve antibiotics, blood transfusions, or other measures to fight infection.
- Targeted therapy.
- Radiation therapy.
- Surgery is rarely an option to treat childhood leukemia.