Leukaemia is cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and lymphatic system. It most often develops in white blood cells. According to the National Cancer Institute nearly 45,000 new cases of leukaemia will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2009 and nearly 22,000 people will die from the disease. There are several forms of adult leukaemia with varying symptoms.
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Causes and Outlook
The Mayo Clinic says scientists can't explain the exact causes of leukaemia. It appears to result from a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The prognosis for adult leukaemia depends on the patient's age, whether the cancer has been previously treated and whether it has moved to the brain or spinal cord.
Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Adult acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is the most widespread type of acute leukaemia in adults. Common symptoms of AML include bleeding from the nose and/or gums, pain or tenderness in the bones, fatigue, fever, shortness of breath and irregular menstrual periods.
Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow produces a surplus of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Some of the symptoms of ALL are infections, fever, fatigue and weight less. People may also be more prone to bleeding or bruising.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Chronic myelgenous leukaemia (CML) is linked to a chromosome defect referred to as the Philadelphia chromosome, which creates an abnormal gene called BCR-ABL. In addition to bleeding and bruising, symptoms of CML may include pressure under the left ribs due to a swollen spleen and the abrupt appearance of tiny red marks on the skin. People with CML may experience profuse sweating, especially at night.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a common adult leukaemia that generally progresses at a slower pace than other types of leukaemia. The warning signs of CLL include recurrent infections, enlarged lymph nodes, enlarged spleen or liver, loss of appetite and weight loss.
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