What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells--usually the white blood cells. Leukemic cells look different than normal cells and do not function properly.

What are the different types of leukemia?

There are four main types of leukemia, which can be further divided into subtypes. When classifying the type of leukemia, the first step is to determine if the cancer is:

Lymphocytic or myelogenous leukemia:

  • Lymphocytic leukemia
  • Myelogenous leukemia

Acute or chronic leukemia:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Chronic leukemia

Based on these findings, the leukemia is then classified into one of the four main types of leukemia:

There are other types and subtypes of leukemia.

Symptoms of Leukemia

The following are the most common symptoms of leukemia:

  • Increased susceptibility to infections and fevers
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Easy bruising
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes
  • Petechiae
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Bone or joint pain

In addition, acute leukemia may cause the following:

  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Seizures
  • Swollen testicles

Chronic leukemia may affect the skin, central nervous system, digestive tract, kidneys, and testicles.

Diagnosing Leukemia

The following are some common ways leukemia is diagnosed:

Treatment for Acute and Chronic Leukemia

Treatment for leukemia may include any of the following:

For more information on leukemia treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact Christian Hospital at 314.747.9355 or toll-free at 877.747.9355 or email us.