I chose to research childhood Leukemia because it is the most common cancer in children and teens, and accounts for almost 1 out of 3 cancers. Just the fact that it could take a life, a child’s life, so easily made me want to learn more about this deadly cancer. There are many symptoms of Leukemia, including fatigue, pale skin, infections, fever, bone or joint pain, swelling of the stomach, weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, coughing, trouble breathing, swelling of the face and arms, headaches, seizures, vomiting, easy bleeding or bruising, and rashes.
Blood tests, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, and lumbar puncture tests are all used to diagnose Leukemia. For the blood tests, a small sample of blood is spread on a glass slide and looked at under a microscope. Most children with leukemia will have too many white blood cells, but not enough red blood cells. During the bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, a small amount of liquid bone marrow is collected from the hip bone for a bone marrow aspiration. A small piece of bone and marrow is removed with a slightly larger needle for the biopsy.
Lumbar Puncture tests are used to look for leukemia cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord). Many different things can cause cancer, including exposure to a lot of radiation, or to certain chemicals like benzene. Chemotherapy to threaten another cancer and having Down Syndrome or another genetic problem can also cause cancer like leukemia. In any cancer, there are four main stages: Stage 1, where the cancer is only found in one organ, Stage 2, where it is found inside and outside of one organ, Stage 3, where it’s spread to two organs, and Stage 4, where it is in two or more organs.
In Leukemia, there are five different stages of the cancer. Stage 0, when too many lymphocytes (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood, but no other symptoms are found. Stage 1 is when too many lymphocytes are found in the blood and the lymph nodes are swollen. Stage 2 is when the liver or spleen is also larger than normal, in addition to the previous symptoms found. Stage 3 includes finding few red blood cells. Stage 4 is when there are also too few platelets. Leukemia can affect all ages, and both genders.
Childhood leukemia is mostly found in children and teenagers. 90% of children and teenagers diagnosed with leukemia and go through treatment survive past five years, which, unless there is a rare case of it coming back, means the child is healthy. Chemotherapy is the treatment of disease by the use of chemical substances. It is especially used as the treatment of cancer by cytotoxic and other drugs. Radiation is the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles.
Although radiation is something that can cause cancer, it can also help treat it. For someone who has leukemia, the treatments they might go through could include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplants, or biological therapy. In chemotherapy, drugs are used to kill cancer cells. This type of therapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels through the body and can kill cancer cells throughout the body. In radiation therapy, x-rays or other high-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
The bone marrow transplant involves high doses of chemotherapy and could include radiation, to destroy the bone marrow. Healthy marrow is transplanted through a needle to replace the destroyed marrow. This process is called allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Another type, the autologous transplant, starts by taking marrow and treating it with drugs. The marrow is frozen and saved, and the child is given a high dose of chemotherapy to destroy the bone marrow. The frozen marrow is thawed and transplanted back into the child.
This kind of transplant isn’t as affective as the allogeneic transplant. During the biological therapy, it attempts to stimulate or restore the ability of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Alijah, a young boy at the age of two, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Just as the young boy was learning to sit and walk on his own, he started to crawl again. He would crawl with his foot in the air, claiming it hurt. After a while, Alijah started to run a high fever at night, and that’s when his mother took him to the family’s pediatrician.
After a few tests and x-rays coming back negative, the pediatrician sent them to a rheumatologist. They suspected he had rheumatoid arthritis, but once again nothing. The rheumatologist referred Alijah to a hematologist at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. After performing a bone marrow biopsy and finding leukemia cells, the doctors diagnosed Alijah with acute lymphocytic leukemia the next day. Alijah started treatment immediately, going through a “port” being inserted in his chest where he would receive his chemotherapy drugs.
A physical therapist helped his parents find ways to get Alijah walking again, and the family began the long journey to the boy’s recovery. Today, this little boy is now advanced and healthy. In conclusion, these kinds of stories and facts make you realize that although cancer can be deadly, it can also be overcome.
Works Cited Paragraph 2: http://www. cancer. org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/overviewguide/childhood-leukemia-overview-found http://www. cancer. org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/detailedguide/childhood-leukemia-diagnosis http://www.webmd. com/cancer/tc/leukemia-topic-overview.
Paragraph 3: http://www. dukehealth. org/cancer/patient-care-services/leukemias-and-lymphomas/about/care_guides/stages-of-leukemias Paragraph 4: http://www. cancer. org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/detailedguide/childhood-leukemia-survival-rates Paragraph 5: http://www. ucsfbenioffchildrens. org/conditions/leukemia/treatment. html Paragraph 6: http://www. childrenscancer. org/main/kids_stories/alijahs_story_surviving_acute_lymphocytic_leukemia_all/? gclid=CP21tqHOn7oCFcYRMwodm0MAFA.