The INTEGRIS team is committed to providing the best care for its patients with leukemia. We believe this starts with education about the disease, its symptoms, and treatment. Our team brings decades of experience diagnosing and treating every type of cancer. We serve the entire state from our hospital locations in Oklahoma City, Yukon, Edmond, Enid, and Miami.
Bone marrow, soft tissue found in the center of some skeletal bones, produces three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A diagnosis of leukemia means a person’s body is producing an excessive number of abnormal, and possibly aggressive, blood cells. Most cases of leukemia involve the overproduction of white blood cells growing unchecked and functioning unnaturally.
Four categories of leukemia exist, which are determined by two combined factors:
- How soon in their life cycle the atypical cells behave differently. Blood cells may become cancerous early or late in their lifecycle. Acute leukemia involves cells reproducing malignantly when they’re still very young. Chronic leukemia involves cells reproducing malignantly after they’ve matured and had some period of normal function.
- What type of white blood cell has become cancerous. The two types of white blood cells that may be cancerous are lymphoid cells and myeloid cells.
Therefore, the four categories of leukemia are:
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Leukemia is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in youth, accounting for about one-third of the cases of childhood cancer. Most of these cases are caused by non-inherited genetic mutations and abnormalities. In children and adults, white blood cells are the foundation of the body’s immune system. Consequently, leukemia symptoms often appear as symptoms of a compromised immune system. These could include
- Increased occurrences of infections and fevers.
- General and noticeable weakness and fatigue
- Anemia, indicated by easy bruising and excessive bleeding
- Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes or abdomen
- Swollen gums that bleed easily
- Bone and/or joint pain
- Swollen testicles
- Sores in the eyes or on skin (such as tiny red dots under the skin’s surface)
Symptoms vary by person and can resemble the symptoms of other health issues. Be sure to consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis of any illness.
Each individual's treatment program is unique to him or her. Upon diagnosis, a plan is mapped out, taking into consideration the individual’s age, overall health and health history, the type of leukemia, how much the cancer has advanced, predicted course of the disease, tolerance for available procedures and medications, as well as the person’s preferences and opinions.
Initially, the treatment plan will address the anemia, bleeding, infection, or other presenting symptoms. Initial treatment will be followed by additional therapy, which may include one or more of the following:
- Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation
- Targeted therapy
- Other medications for additional symptoms, or as prevention for secondary illnesses
For more information on leukemia visit our health library. If you have concerns about cancer please request a consultation with your primary care physician, or contact the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute in Oklahoma City.