Home Blood Disorder Leukemia


by Alivia Nyhan

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells that begins in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside most bones. It contains the cells that make fully formed blood cells. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells crowd the bone marrow, preventing it from producing normal blood cells.

How does leukemia develop?

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood in which the bone marrow makes too many abnormal blood cells. These abnormal blood cells either do not die as they ought to or make too many and crowd out the normal cells. These abnormal blood cells can circulate through the body and cause damage wherever they go.

How does leukemia affect my body?

Leukemia is a cancer that starts in the bone marrow. The spleen, liver, and lymph nodes may be affected as well. When it affects my bone marrow, it makes my blood cells not function. The white blood cells fight off infections. My red blood cells carry oxygen from my lungs to the rest of my body. My platelets help my blood clot. Without them, my blood would flow from my veins and through my arteries.

What are the different types of leukemia?

Leukemia is a group of cancers that start in white blood cells, known as lymphocytes. The disease occurs when a chromosome breaks, causing genetic changes. As a result, the cells multiply out of control, causing leukemia. There are two main types of leukemia: acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which begins in the white blood cells and affects young children, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which begins in the bone marrow and causes the blood to become abnormal.

Childhood leukemia: Childhood leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. There are four main types of childhood leukemia, with the most common being acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This type of leukemia accounts for about three-quarters of all childhood leukemia cases.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: (CLL) is the most common type in the United States, accounting for about one-third of all cases. CLL is a slow-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow that usually affects adults over the age of 55.

Chronic myeloid leukemia: (CML), also known as myeloid or granulocytic leukemia, is a cancer of the white blood cells. It is characterized by the overproduction of myeloid cells, a type of white blood cell that normally matures into red blood cells, platelets, or other white blood cells.

Multiple myeloma: Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system. In multiple myeloma, cancer cells build up in the bone marrow and crowd out the healthy blood cells.