While Leukemia is sometimes thought of as a disease that affects children, more adults are actually diagnosed with this condition. According to the American Cancer Society, targeted therapies have helped reduce the number of leukemia cases and increase the survival rate. For example, the five-year relative survival rate for chronic myeloid leukemia increased from 22% in the mid-1970s to 70% today. At Personalized Hematology-Oncology, we are at the forefront of genetic testing and development of personalized leukemia treatment and treatments for other blood cancers.
Cancers are caused by the uncontrolled growth and spread of mutated cells; leukemia occurs when this growth begins in the bone marrow or lymphatic system, resulting in abnormal white blood cells called blasts. There are many different types of leukemia, but typically they affect the production of white blood cells, allowing the disease to spread throughout the body more easily than other cancers.
Leukemia Risk & Prevention
The exact cause of leukemia is unknown. Since cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA, radiation exposure is a known risk factor for leukemia, along with genetic conditions like Down syndrome and Fanconi anemia.
Leukemia symptoms can vary depending on the type, but often include:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Fever or chills
- Fatigue and weakness
- Weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Petechiae – tiny red spots on the skin
- Excessive sweating
- Bone pain
Leukemia Early Detection & Diagnosis
If you are experiencing any symptoms of leukemia, diagnosis is made through repeated blood tests that look at your white blood cell count and then a bone marrow examination. A biopsy of the lymph nodes may also be performed to diagnose certain types of leukemia. Since many of the symptoms may be attributed to other causes, the American Cancer Society estimates that up to 20% of patients may have leukemia without a diagnosis.
Leukemia Treatment in Raleigh, NC
At Personalized Hematology-Oncology, we know that every patient is different, as is every cancer profile. Our experts in chemotherapy, targeted molecular therapies, genome science and infusion administration work together to create gene expression profiles of the tumor to determine the best leukemia treatment option for the specific cancer.