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Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. It is the most common type of childhood cancer. Your blood cells form in your bone marrow. White blood cells help your body fight infection. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells crowd out the healthy blood cells, making it hard for blood to do its work.

Leukemia can develop quickly or slowly. Acute leukemia is a fast growing type while chronic leukemia grows slowly. Children with leukemia usually have one of the acute types.

Symptoms include

  • Infections
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the bones or joints

Risk factors for childhood leukemia include having a brother or sister with leukemia, having certain genetic disorders and having had radiation or chemotherapy. Treatment often cures childhood leukemia. Treatment options include chemotherapy, other drug therapy and radiation. In some cases bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation might help.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Childhood Leukemia

The following features are indicative of Childhood Leukemia:
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • feeling cold
  • feeling dizzy
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • pale skin
  • fever
  • bleeding gums
  • easy bruising
  • joint pain
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • swelling of the belly
  • coughing
  • swelling of the face and arms
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • rashes
  • gum problems
It is possible that Childhood Leukemia shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
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Common Causes of Childhood Leukemia

The following are the most common causes of Childhood Leukemia:
  • an alteration or defect in the immune system
  • high exposure of child to X-rays

Risk Factors for Childhood Leukemia

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Childhood Leukemia:
  • genetic factors
  • inherited immune system problems
  • identical twins
  • smoking
  • overweight
  • too much alcohol consumption
  • environmental factors

Prevention of Childhood Leukemia

No, it is not possible to prevent Childhood Leukemia.
  • no known prevention

Occurrence of Childhood Leukemia

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Childhood Leukemia cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Childhood Leukemia most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 0-20 years

Common Gender

Childhood Leukemia can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Childhood Leukemia

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Childhood Leukemia:
  • Bone scan: To detect the bone pain
  • Ultrasound: To view the pictures of internal organs or masses
  • Magnetic resonance imaging scan: To view the detailed images of soft tissues in the body
  • Computed tomography scan: To view the detailed and cross-sectional images of the body
  • Chest x-ray: To detect the enlarged thymus or lymph nodes in the chest
  • Imaging tests: To view pictures of the inside of the body
  • Blood tests: To diagnose the blood infections
  • Cytogenetics: To detect any changes in the chromosomes
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization: To evaluate the specific changes in chromosomes
  • Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry: To measure the amount of deoxyribonucleic acid in the leukemia cells
  • Bone marrow biopsy: To diagnose the leukemia
  • Lumbar puncture: To evaluate for leukemia cells in the cerebrospinal fluid

Doctor for Diagnosis of Childhood Leukemia

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Childhood Leukemia:
  • Pediatric oncologist
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Health professionals

Complications of Childhood Leukemia if untreated

Yes, Childhood Leukemia causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Childhood Leukemia is left untreated:
  • leukostasis
  • hemorrhage
  • infections
  • dural venous sinus thrombosis

Procedures for Treatment of Childhood Leukemia

The following procedures are used to treat Childhood Leukemia:
  • Chemotherapy: Kill the cancerous cells remained after surgery
  • Surgery: Removal of cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy: Kill the cancer cells

Self-care for Childhood Leukemia

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Childhood Leukemia:
  • Do regular physical activity: Reduces the risk associated with the late effects of treatment
  • Have healthy diet: Take nutritious and balanced diet to reduce the risks linked with the late effects of treatment

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Childhood Leukemia

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Childhood Leukemia:
  • Acupuncture therapy: To block the nerve pathways carrying pain sensation to brain
  • Massage therapy: Relieve the symptoms of disease

Patient Support for Treatment of Childhood Leukemia

The following actions may help Childhood Leukemia patients:
  • Educate yourself about the disease: Helps in getting through cancer treatment

Time for Treatment of Childhood Leukemia

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Childhood Leukemia to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Childhood Leukemia.

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