Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Symptoms and Treatment

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Symptoms and Treatment | HealthSoul

Leukemia strikes early blood-forming cells, usually the white blood cells, but sometimes it occurs in other types of blood cells. According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 estimated statistics, there will be about 60,300 new cases of leukemia in the United States in 2018, and about 24,370 deaths will result from this disease. There are several different types of leukemia, such as Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Each type has its own risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) starts in newly formed blood cells found in the bone marrow. “Acute” indicates that this cancer spreads quickly and will likely be fatal if not discovered and treated within a few months. About 5,960 people will be diagnosed with ALL and about 1,470 deaths will result from it. Most of the new diagnosis will be in children under 5, but most of the deaths (80%) will be in adults. The risk is slightly higher for males and whites.

Causes of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

It is unclear what causes ALL, and not everyone who is diagnosed will have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Gender (higher in males)
  • Inherited syndromes
  • Radiation exposure
  • Certain chemical exposure
  • Viral infections
  • Race/ethnicity (higher in whites)
  • Having a twin with ALL

Causes of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever and Night sweats
  • Persistent infections
  • Easy Bruising, Gum Bleeding or frequent nosebleeds
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Bone pain
  • Coughing

Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests including blood counts and blood smear
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Chromosome testing
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • Imaging tests including X-rays, CT scan and Bone scan

Diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Staging or Classification of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Unlike most other forms of cancer, ALL is not categorized by stages, but rather by types (classifications), based on what type of cell the cancer comes from and how advanced the leukemia cells are. The classifications for ALL include

  • B cell
  • T cell
  • Mixed

Treatment of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Treatment for ALL typically lasts about two years and is very intense, especially for the first few months. Treatment options include:

Prevention of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Since there is no known cause and so few of the people diagnosed even have the known risk factors, there is no known way to prevent ALL.