Acute VS Chronic Leukemia Essay Sample

  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1,254
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  • Category: cancer

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Cancer is one of the most catastrophic and debilitating diseases known to mankind. There have been many types of cancer that have been discovered over the years. Most people that have had cancer undergo chemotherapy, radiation, or both. Leukemia is one of the most feared types of cancer. “Leukemia is cancer of the blood or bone marrow. It is classified by an abnormal increased amount of white blood cells. Leukemia

cells. Leukemia is an extended term covering a series of diseases; leukemia is subdivided into a variety of large groups.” (2013) Retrieved July 2013 from ( In this paper you will found out the difference between the two main divisions. The first division is between chronic and acute forms which are grouped based on how quickly they spread. Both types are forms of Leukemia but affect the body differently. Acute Leukemia will have a rapid boost in the amount of immature blood cells, while chronic can typically take months or years to progress abnormal white blood cells.

Leukemia can strike all, no matter what sex or age, as of right now there is no known cause. Acute leukemia may make you feel sick right away; it can be life-threatening, very aggressive disease. Most cases are defined by a “blast “, blasts are immature blood cells that divide frequently. Since acute cells don’t stop dividing like their normal counterparts, they cause crowding. Crowding happens quickly and it prohibits the bone marrow from producing healthy blood cells, once the bone marrow stops producing immediate treatment is required. Without treatment acute leukemia cells will overflow into the bloodstream and spill onto other organs of the body, because of the rapid progression. Adolescents and young adults are more likely to be diagnosed with acute types of leukemia. Chronic leukemia has a slower onset and is usually not life-threatening at the time of diagnosis. It’s characterized by the excessive buildup of relatively mature, but still abnormal white blood cells. These cells come from mature abnormal cells that thrive for too long and accumulate. Chronic cells are produced at a much higher rate than normal, and will still result in many abnormal white blood cells.

Even though the chronic cells produce more than normal it can take months or years to progress or show signs. This type of leukemia can occur in any age group, but is mostly occurs in older people. People that have acute leukemia will go to their doctor because they feel like they are sick. When the brain is affected, they could have seizures, vomiting, confusion, headaches, or loss of muscle control. This type of leukemia also can disturb other bodily origins such as the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs, heart, or testes. Other signs and symptoms of acute leukemia may include; bleeding gums, bone pain, fever, night sweats, weight loss, excess bruising, frequent infections, or severe nosebleeds, lumps and swollen lymph nodes in or around the neck, abdomen or groin, shortness of breath, pale skin, fatigue/weakness or decreased energy level. Many symptoms and signs of acute leukemia are those of the flu. However, the flu like symptoms will improve but acute leukemia symptoms get worse very fast and make you feel sick right away.

Certain signs and symptoms might indicate that someone may have acute leukemia, or if results from a physical exam suggest leukemia. A doctor will need to check both blood and bone marrow cell samples to be sure of the diagnosis. Other cell and tissue samples may also be taken in order to help guide treatment. The most common blood work you will have done during treatment is called a complete blood count, or CBC. Blood is made up of nutrients, proteins, water, and living cells. A complete blood count lets your doctor know about the cells in your blood. A CBC measures the 3 basic types of blood cells: white and red blood along with a platelet count, each of these cells has a purpose. After receiving positive results back from your CBC, your doctor will need a bone marrow sample. A bone marrow sample is obtained from 2 tests, a bone marrow aspiration and a bone marrow biopsy which are normally done during the same procedure. Both bone marrow tests are used to determine leukemia type, they will also be done periodically to make sure the leukemia is responding to treatment.

In some cases doctors may need cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which is the liquid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain; they get this by doing a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. Signs and symptoms of chronic leukemia are similar to acute leukemia, and the flu as well but may include pain or feeling of “fullness” of the stomach (especially after a small meal), which could be caused by an enlarged spleen. People with chronic leukemia may not experience any symptoms at all; “it’s proven that this leukemia has a longer natural history. This means that if the disease went untreated, people would survive much longer than those with acute leukemia (2013) Retrieved from ( It is common for this type of leukemia to be found during a routine blood test. Once diagnosed with acute leukemia treatment will immediately start. Long-term chemotherapy (chemo) is the main treatment for acute leukemia in adults. Doctors have begun to use more intensive chemo regimens in the past several years, which have led to better responses to treatment.

Typical treatment takes place in 3 phases; Induction (or remission induction), Consolidation (intensification) and finally a Maintenance phases. Total treatment usually takes about 2 years, the last and longest is called the maintenance phase. This chemotherapy treatment may also have life-threatening complications. If blood counts are low a blood or platelet transfusions may be required. Treatment may be more intense, depending on the subtype of acute leukemia and other prognostic factors. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, doctors will run test to determine what stage of the chronic leukemia you have. Two different staging methods are used. Each assigns a stage early on, advanced or intermediate indicates the progression of the leukemia. The levels from this test will be used to determine treatment options. Chronic leukemia may not require immediate treatment if you have an early stage because the diseases does not spread as quickly. However, it is very imperative for those with chronic leukemia to have frequent checkups to make sure it has not spread or increased.

Usually, no medicines or other treatment is given for an early-stage, unless you have one or more symptoms, then chemo treatment is needed to control the disease and symptoms. Rarely, radiation may be used for painfully enlarged lymph nodes. In the end leukemia is still cancer no matter how it’s categorized. Acute or chronic both have differences but both are serious and can become a life threating matter. Acute leukemia usually occurs in children or young adults, which needs immediate intervention. While chronic mostly occurs in adults and sometimes needs no treatment. Each individual case is different and doctors are taking serious measures to stop this cancer from spreading. There is no known cause of leukemia, so remember if it is not discovered in its early stages it may become fatal.


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