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What Causes Leukemia?

 Leukemia is a blood cancer. Faster multiplication of white blood cells in bone marrow is noticed, as a result, normal blood cells decrease, and leukemic cells burst. 

Children with 18 or below are not triggers of cancer but leukemia is an exception. Leukemia harms bone marrow ( it is a soft and spongy tissue present in areas like thigh and hip). Extra abnormal cells suffocate bone marrow and stop the growth of essential blood cells. To harm other parts of the body, these cancerous cells outgrow in the bloodstream. It also damages the lymphatic system.

Acute leukemia in a short span of time starts showing its signs and day by day it becomes life-threatening and chronic leukemia is also equally dangerous but it hides symptoms for a longer time and then gradually becomes worse. In adults, leukemia strikes at the age of 60 or above. Every year 1-2% of new cases of leukemia get reported. Maximum tests of cancer are done for leukemia. Test shows leukemia cancer attacks 30-35% more to men than women. The actual cause of leukemia isn’t found yet.

Types Of Leukemia 

Basic types of leukemia are:

  1. Chronic
  2. Acute

But on the basis of the cell type and severity level, they are categorized into 4 different sections.

  1. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia ( CML)

It is also known as chronic myeloid leukemia. Some disturbances occur in the genes and cells start acting immaturely and introduce a defective gene known as BCR-ABL, this defective gene converts normal cells into chronic myelogenous leukemia. Comparatively, CML is not very rapidly growing leukemia so patients get enough time for treatment and that’s survival rates increases by 65% in adults. CML affects adults only.

Symptoms Of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia 

Symptoms stay hidden for a while then eventually start appearing. 

  • Fever
  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Increase in the size of the spleen
  • Breathing problems
  • Hunger reduces
  • Swollen glands
  • Infection
  • Bleeding

Treatment For Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

  • To reduce the BCR-ABL gene’s deformity Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors should be taken orally for good effect. Drugs such as Nilotinib, Ponatinib, Imatinib, and Bosutinib are highly recommended. But have a word with the doctor as all these medicines have some side effects.
  • Radiation therapy is done by using energy sources.
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Another treatment option interferon-alpha (drug)stops the growth of cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy either can be done through the intravenous procedure or orally. It is a very important and most preferred treatment option to fight against cancer.

Diagnosis Of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

  • Total blood count tests – This test examines the overall health of RBC, WBC, and platelets.
  • Biopsy – For a biopsy, a sample of bone marrow is taken, and then it is kept under the microscope to detect cancer.
  • Peripheral Blood smear test – It checks the number of immature cells and their severity level.

     2. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia ( CLL)

33% of cases of Leukemia are of this type. Signs of CLL become visible after 6 months or 1 year. CLL based cells also get crowded in the spleen and liver. A known subtype of CLL is hairy cell leukemia. When it is observed under the microscope, blood cancer cells resemble hair. It is mostly seen in middle-aged males. 

Causes Of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Genetic factors. If your family members have or had leukemia then your chances increase.
  • Super white skin tone
  • Russian or European native. 

Symptoms Of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • The size of lymph nodes increases mostly in the neck region
  • Red blood cell count drops down and causes anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Stomachache
  • Night sweats
  • Infection
  • Mild fever
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment For Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

A number of treatments are available but the doctor will select the right treatment for you on the basis of your health, CLL level, physical examination, and tests.

  • Allogeneic stem cell transplant
  • Splenectomy
  • Medications
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

All these treatments help to control the count of cancerous cells and resume normal blood count.

Diagnosis Of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Immunoglobulin Test – Immunoglobulin (antibodies are glycoprotein) helps to activate normal cells and minimizes antigens.
  • Fluorescent Insitu Hybridization
  • Immunophenotyping test
  • DNA alignment test
  • Karyotyping

     3. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

It is also known as acute myeloid leukemia and nonlymphocytic leukemia. AML can occur at any age. It is a cancer of bone marrow. In this type, damaged bone marrow also makes unusual red blood cells and platelets. The noteworthy thing about AML is it is classified into 8 sub-groups.

  • Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia 
  • Acute Monocytic Leukemia
  • Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia
  • Megakaryocytic 
  • Acute Erythroleukemia
  • Myeloblastic (M1)
  • Myeloblastic(M2)
  • Myeloblastic (M0)

Causes Of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

The primary cause of AML is a gene mutation when the DNA sequence reverses AML happens.


  • Pale skin and body
  • Bleeding in the nose
  • Fever
  • Bone pain
  • Bleeding in gums 
  • Swollen glands
  • Continuous infection

Treatments For Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Your treatment will be between you and the entire team of experts starting from a hematologist to a pediatrician ( for children) and pathologists.

  • Aspiration
  • Intensive 
  • Leukapheresis
  • Bone Marrow transplant

Diagnosis For Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

  • X-ray scanning
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture
  1. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

This type is commonly seen in small children and teens. It is subdivided into 4 types.

  • ALL in infants/toddlers
  • T cell-based ALL
  • ALL in children over 10 years and under 18
  • Philadelphia chromosomes

What Causes Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia?

Maybe DNA sequence changing is responsible for this also but some researchers say the actual reason isn’t found.

Symptoms Of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Skin bruises
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Splenomegaly
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light purple spots on the body
  • Lymph nodes increase in size in the armpits and between the thigh and abdomen area.
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Pallor
  • Fatigue

Treatment Options For Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • For subtype Philadelphia chromosomes, tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment works well.
  • Antibiotics
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Intensive chemotherapy
  • Less or non-intensive chemotherapy

Diagnosis For Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • CT Scan
  • Bone Marrow Aspiration
  • Spinal tap test
  • Lumbar puncture ( because it is children-oriented leukemia)
  • Electrocardiogram

Cost Of Leukemia (Blood Cancer)

On average, the cost of chemotherapy for leukemia is $700-$1500.  Bone marrow transplant cost is $25000-$75000 depends on the donor.

The cost of pills like tyrosine kinase inhibitors ranges from $900-$3000.

Yearly, you can estimate the cost of other oral medicines from $20000-$80000 depends on your doses and stage of leukemia. 

Total treatment cost of chronic myeloid/lymphocytic and acute lymphoblastic/myeloid cost is around $50000-$90000 in adults and $30000-$50000 in children ( it can change may be in developing and underdeveloped countries costs will be less).

The Best Hospitals For Leukemia Treatment

India’s Best Blood Cancer Treating Hospitals 

  1. Kokilaben Dhirubhai Hospital in Mumbai, India is not only a part of the largest hospital for leukemia treatment but it’s the captain of the ship. Along with astounding services, medical experts teams keep in mind about social and psychological needs of patients.
  2. Fortis Hospital – It is a chain which is situated in all the major cities of India which includes Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. From haematologist to nursing staff all take a very good care of all the patients.
  3. Apollo Hospital – This also has the chain but best out of all is Bangalore (India) Apollo. This hospital gives multiple treatments to give excellent results with less side effects and complications. 

Cost in India for blood cancer treatment ranges from 2 lakh rupees to 20 lakh rupees.

Turkey’s Best Blood Cancer (Leukemia) Treating Hospitals

  1. Anadolu Medical Centre – It is situated in Istanbul (Turkey). The whole setup of this clinic is made ( including equipment and technology) by following American standards. So each treatment is very accurate.
  2. Medical Park– It is in Antalya (Turkey). This hospital is not too far from Anadolu if we describe its medical approach to patient care
  3. American Hastanesi – It is in Istanbul. It has experienced doctors who are from the US. Its motto is to give imperative diagnosis for most effective treatment.
  4. MD Hospital

FAQs :

  1. What are the risk factors of Leukemia?
  • Staying in intense radiation area
  • Smoking increases risk of leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Frequent chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heredity factor
  • Exposure to formaldehyde and benzene
  • Fanconi Anemia
  • Bloom syndrome
  • Obesity


    2. What’s the survival rate of Leukemia?

  •  Acute Myeloid Leukemia Survival rate is 67%.
  •  Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia survival rate is 68.2%.
  •  Chronic myeloid leukemia survival rate is 69.2%.
  • Chronic Lymphocytic leukemia survival rate is 85%.

    3. What’s the difference between leukemia and lymphoma?

Leukemia – This forms cancer in bone marrow.

Lymphoma – This forms cancer in lymphatic glands and lymph nodes.

Leukemia – Basic types are acute and chronic leukemia.

Lymphoma – Basic types are Hodgkin and non-hodgkin lymphoma.