Leukemia in children: causes, symptoms and treatment
The word "leukemia" simply can not cause any positive feelings. This is not surprising, because such a diagnosis, unfortunately, we have to completely rebuild the habitual way of life. At the same time I am glad that today, leukemia can be overcome, although the process is rather long and tedious.
Especially frustrating to hear when this disease affects children. In fact, failing to learn even a lot in life, they have to deal with such a serious challenge. Statistics show that out of 100 thousand children under 15 years falls ill with leukemia about 4%, which is, actually, a lot. Particularly striking that the leukemia in children of preschool age – about 45% of the total number of affected children.
If your child is faced with leukemia, keep immediately hands. Find out more about the causes, symptoms, and, most importantly, methods of treatment, and tune in to a positive result.
The causes of leukaemia in children
Leukemia (blood cancer, a leukemia, leukemia is a disease in which the occurrence of malignant tumors in the circulatory system. Especially at risk are some of the key components of blood, namely the white blood cells.
For the production of new blood cells responsible bone marrow, and that it starts the disease itself. Thanks to the bone marrow in the body produces not only the white blood cells responsible for protecting the body from harmful elements, but the red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body and platelets that help blood clotting.
Speaking about the causes that predispose to the occurrence of leukemia in children, one can distinguish the following:
- The radiation exposure.
- Effects on the body any chemicals (e.g., formaldehyde).
- Down syndrome and other genetic disorders in the system.
- Electromagnetic radiation (for example, long and frequent breaks at the computer). Such radiation may adversely affect the formation of chromosomes, resulting in the mutation of cells and the formation of blasts.
- Frequent infectious diseases, which can also lead to certain mutations.
Unfortunately, children's bodies are more often exposed to this disease than adult. Why this is so, we don't know exactly maybe it is due to the fact that the child's body is not yet fully developed.
How is leukemia?
The spread of the disease in the body:
- Cell bone marrow begins the process of mutation and transformed in cancerous, but not in leukocyte. The exact reasons why this happens, unfortunately, still could not figure out.
- The resulting cell (blast) begins quickly enough to share.
- Appeared a large number of cancer cells begin to weaken healthy white blood cells. These cells penetrate the lymph nodes and other organs, causing them significant changes.
The main types of leukemia
1. In the course of the disease:
- Acute leukemia – rapid progression of the disease, depletes the body of the patient very quickly.
- The chronic leukemia – slow progression of the disease can last for years. This type of leukemia in adults is far more common than in children.
2. Structural features:
- Lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukaemia affects white blood cells.
- Myeloid leukemia affects granulocytes (fraction of white blood cells).
In most cases (about 85%) in children under 15 years manifested acute lymphocytic leukemia. Myeloid leukemia, respectively, diagnosed in 15% of children. Interestingly, in adult myeloid leukemia that often has a form.
Symptoms of leukemia in children
In leukemia cancer cells (or for a given diagnosis the leukemic cells) begin to displace these white blood cells. As a consequence,the body becomes weaker and less able to fight off any infectious diseases. Besides, bleeding may occur and, consequently, anemia. In this state, with leukemia gets tired much faster, and therefore needs more rest.
If more specific symptoms of leukemia in children, they depend on what the appearance of this disease. Classified from the speed of disease progression.
1. For acute the leukemia:
- the first symptoms will be a dramatic and rapid temperature increase at the child, as well as a possible sore throat or stomatitis with signs of bleeding.
- A decrease in appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and bone pain. Weight lost rapidly.
- The child's speech may become slurred.
- The examination also revealed an enlarged liver, spleen and lymph nodes.
- On the body may appear rash and bruises.
- There are also internal bleeding, and often bleeding from the nose.
- Frequent exposure to communicable diseases.
- Sweating, especially at night.
2. In chronic leukemia the symptoms are as such practically does not occur. Often a person learns about the disease with a simple blood test.
Treatment with chemotherapy
Thanks to all the new scientific advances and research, the fight against blood cancer has become more successful. Although much depends on the stage of the disease, age of the sick person, however, in General, it is possible to suspend the reproduction of cancer cells and even to destroy them completely.
In identifying acute leukemia of the child immediately hospitalitynet. The first case is assigned to the course therapy, which is divided into three stages. Chemotherapy is the use of special medications which help to destroy cancer cells and stop the process of reproduction.
Phases of chemotherapy:
1. Induction therapy phase of chemotherapy, which aims to achieve remission. In 95% of cases of leukemia in children can achieve positive results.
2. Consolidation – use of chemotherapy to reduce cancer cells. In some cases, the exposure of the skull, removing lymphoblasts.
3. Supportive therapy is assigned in the case of achieving remission by the previous two phases.
In some cases, you may also be assigned to intrathecal therapy. There is a need in that situation, if the cancer cells have started to hit the Central nervous system. This type of treatment involves injection of medication into the spinal canal through Lamalou puncture or catheter, to introduce under the skin of the head (tank, Omya).
As can be seen, the treatment process is quite lengthy. The first stage of treatment takes about 9 months, maintenance therapy (after studying of the brain) can last two years, but already at home. When such treatment is possible to achieve positive results and overcome the disease completely. Statistics show that 70-80% of children can be saved. It is also seen that children under one year harder to overcome the disease, but those who are older than one year have a higher chance of recovery.
Other methods of treatment of leukemia
In addition to chemotherapy can also be assigned and radiotherapy, that is treatment with radiation (x-rays). This treatment option is used much less frequently, and in those cases where there is a risk that the disease spread to the brain and spinal cord.
Also important method of treatment is the appointment of special preparations that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. For example, it may be cytostatic drugs – anticancer drugs that destroy all components of the leukemic cells. Can also be assigned to glucocorticoid hormones that have a powerful enougheffect on the function of the human immune system.
Another treatment option to help fight leukemia in children is bone marrow transplantation. What is the procedure? Doctors are transplanted from the donor bone marrow to a sick child. The transplanted cells help to intensify activities of bone marrow, which can significantly improve the patient's condition. The procedure is quite painful and has some risks, therefore it is applied only in cases, when chemotherapy is ineffective. On the other hand, such transplantation allows to reach a long-term remission.
So, remember that blood cancer is not the final verdict. Leukemia in children every year treated more effectively. If you notice any, even minor symptoms of leukemia in their child, do not hesitate. Remember, the sooner the diagnosis, the more likely to overcome the disease and forget about it once and for all.