There are various diseases of blood, and their treatment is for a long time one of the most important issues of world medicine. Blood is an organism component, the main liquid, without which person's life is impossible. Blood defeat by diseases affects all human organs. Often it brings to hematological malignancies, which represents the whole group of tumoral diseases of the hematogenic tissue. The diagnosis of leukemia causes the trembling. In one second, it seems everything breaks down: measured life, habitual life, family harmony. However, leukemia is not already a sentence nowadays since there are increasing number of people that win this unbearable illness and return to normal life.
Leukemia (other names - a blood cancer, a leukosis) represents generalizing term, which characterizes the group of chronic and acute malignant diseases of the blood system. The main impact of an illness falls on the "white" blood, i.e. leukocytes, therefore, it is widely known under the name leukemia. This disease starts from marrow - a body, which is responsible for development of blood cells: leukocytes and erythrocytes (white and red blood cells), and also thrombocytes (platelets). Each of these particles bears the major service. For example, white blood cells protect the human body from stranger agents and participate in the fight against diseases of an infectious origin. Erythrocytes deliver oxygen and other important substances to organism tissues, and thrombocytes are involved in blood clotting and prevent large blood loss during vascular injury.
At leukemia, blood is affected with so-called abnormal leukocytes, which are called as leukemic cells. They are quickly multiplied and start forcing out normal blood cells, which are no longer in the ability to perform their function at full capacity. Such process generates any serious complications such as bleeding, anemia, frequent infectious diseases, increased fatigue (“What You Need To Know About Leukemia” 2008)
According to Lorrie Klosterman (2005), all the processes begin with a mutation of one cell of marrow: for the unclear reason, instead of maturing into a full-fledged normal white blood cell, it becomes cancerous. Such malignant white cells that are called neoplasms divide uncontrollably. As a result of such division, the whole colony of the abnormal cells is formed, forcing out healthy cells, gets into lymph nodes and different bodies, in which causes serious pathological changes (11-17).
Connie Goldsmith (2012) states that the true reasons of emergence of a blood cancer are still unknown. However, it was noticed that this illness often develops after influence of essential doses of radiation, particular chemicals (for example, benzene and formaldehyde) and viruses, and also after application of a chemotherapy or beam therapy, which are often used for the treatment of other types of cancer. Contributing factors of emergence of a leukosis are also smoking and abuse of tobacco products, existence of a Down syndrome or other genetic violations. By the way, this illness most often arises at children and people of old age. Why these age groups are mostly affected leukemia, also remains one of the mysteries of medicine (6-9).
Faderl (2011) reports that classification of leukemia is caused by flow rate of the disease and a type of the affected leukocytes. On the first sign, the scientists distinguish an acute and chronic leukemia. The acute form of a disease vividly progresses, at full speed exhausting an organism of the patient. Chronic leukemia progresses slowly and cannot be detected by any alarming manifestation for many years. On the second sign, the leukemia is divided on lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) and myeloid. At a lymphocytic blood cancer, the type of leukocytes, which is called as lymphocytes, is affected, and at myeloid the blood cells are affected called granulocytes (43-50).
In accordance with Harmon (2012), the manifestations of the disease are directly dependent on its type. For example, the acute leukemia begins suddenly with high temperature, and at some patients it begins with an angina or stomatitis with the characteristics of bleeding. In parallel, there is a weakness and fatigue, appetite decreases, there is a vomiting, nausea and ostealgias. At patients the increase of a liver, lymph nodes, and spleen is observed; moreover, their bodies are covered with punctate reddish and cyanotic rash and bruises. Patients dramatically lose weight, and they can have nasal or internal bleeding.
The chronic leukemia progresses more slowly, and stretches out in time for a few years. All symptoms at the chronic leukemia are smoother than at the acute form of the disease. Days of remission, as a rule, come to change to the aggravation periods. Chronic leukemia is diagnosed usually absolutely casually, for example, after a blood analysis. The existence of headaches, night sweating and frequent infectious diseases also refer to common symptoms of the disease (31-35).
About 20 years ago, the patients with this diagnosis were doomed. However, the medicine is developing, and since then the scientific researchers developed necessary for efficient fight against a leukemia modern medications, which help patients recover and be restored to habitual life. According to Estey and Appelbaum (2012), the medical course depends on a kind and subspecies of leukemia, its stage, common state of health, and age of the patient. However, at any form of the disease and the situation, the purpose of treatment remains common since it is necessary to suppress manifolding and completely destroy cancer cells (as even one or two remained blasts can entail a new disease outbreak) and by that allow the formation of healthy mature cells in marrow (38-42).
Treatment of acute leukemia is carried out by means of a chemotherapy that is a common method for this disease, at which strong chemotherapeutic preparations are applied. Reception of these preparations for the majority of patients is carried out in 3 stages. The first stage is an inductive stage. Its purpose consists in achievement of remission, during which malignant cells collapse is replaced with the healthy cells. At this stage, larger doses of strong preparations are applied. This course can last from 7 to 30 days. All this time the patient often stays in hospital chamber. The consolidation stage is carried out further. Even if analysis shows a lack of the cancer cells, some blasts still can remain in the organism. Therefore, the main goal of this stage of treatment consists in the destruction of all remained abnormal cells. At this stage, the same medications are generally used as earlier, but the scheme of reception and a dosage is changed.
The last stage is a stage of support. At this time, the main goal is the prevention of development of recurrence. Smaller doses of preparations are already applied, but the duration of a course can take about 2-3 years. If leukemia is often relapsing (such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia), then this stage may carry out the operation for transplantation of stem cells. At some types of the acute leukemia cancer cells, being delivered allover the organism, can get the brain and/or a spinal cord. Chemotherapeutic drugs, which are taken through injection or orally, cannot reach these parts because of the express protective barrier called the hematoencephalic. In such situations, intrathecal chemotherapy is carried out, at which medicinal preparations are entered immediately into a spinal cord (“What You Need To Know About Leukemia” 2008).
Moreau (2008) states that treatment of chronic leukemia not always demands urgent therapy. Due to sluggish progress, patients with this disease (especially with a chronic lymphocytic leukemia) some time can simply be under the supervision of doctors, who study the behavior of an illness in a particular case. Specialists consider that about a third of patients do not need treatment at all. In the fight against chronic types of leukemia, the following methods are applied: transplantation of stem cells, biological therapy, beam therapy and chemotherapy. Transplantation of stem cells can be autologous (stem cells are taken from an organism of the patient) and allogenic (the donor gives stem cells). The purpose of operation consists in the destruction of all cells in marrow, including cancer cells, and their replacement with new healthy cells. At biological therapy, the doctors use the special preparations improving natural protective functions of opposition with cancer (for example, interferon alpha). Beam therapy is applied for destruction of malignant cells. As a result of this therapy, the increased spleen and lymph nodes decrease.
Since the immune system of the patient with a chronic form of leukemia is significantly weakened, the patient and the attending physician have to watch probable emergence of symptoms of infectious diseases, for example, pneumonia, shingles, fungal infections, etc. Their early diagnostics and treatment are very important, therefore in order to prevent the particular infectious diseases the patients are vaccinated, for example, from flu or pneumonia (157-164).
Taking into account all above mentioned information, it is necessary to note that leukemia is very painful disease. People with this illness suffer even from treatment even if they recover. The treatment is very painful because a number of procedures of chemotherapy is applied for this purpose. Leukemia can be a fatal disease, but due to the early diagnostics, proper treatment, and a great success this type of cancer can be injected into a remission stage. Researches of leukemia helped many patients recover. However, there are more many suffering people because treatment methods, which will help them, are not invented yet. The government provides a huge financing of the researches aimed at the invention of new methods of treating all types of cancer.
- Estey, E. H., and Frederick R. Appelbaum. Leukemia and Related Disorders: Integrated Treatment Approaches. New York: Humana Press, 2012. Print.
- Faderl, S. H., and Hagop Kantarjian. Leukemias: Principles and Practice of Therapy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell Pub., 2011. Print.
- Goldsmith, Connie. Leukemia. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2012. Print.
- Harmon, Daniel E. Leukemia: Current and Emerging Ttrends in Detection and Treatment. New York: Rosen Pub., 2012. Print.
- Klosterman, Lorrie. Leukemia. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2005. Print.
- Moreau, Ines B. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: New Research. New York: Nova Biomedical Books, 2008. Print.
- What You Need To Know About Leukemia. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, 25 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 July 2013. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/leukemia/page2
- What You Need To Know About Leukemia. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, 25 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 July 2013. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/adultALL/Patient