Leukemia: Cancer of the Blood Cells

Classification of Leukemia- Cause & Risk Factors

Are you aware Leukemia is diagnosed more often in adults, even 10 times higher than children? As per Leukemia Research Foundation, every day 170 patients are diagnosed with this type of cancer and 67 lose the fight.

Leukemia is derived from Greek words leukos, white and haima, blood. In this type of cancer, blood cells in the bone marrow and in the lymphatic system are affected. The abnormal white blood cell count makes the body less potent to fight with infections.

  • Acute leukemia: This is fatal if not treated within a few weeks or a few months.
  • Chronic leukemia has a slow course and includes chronic lymphocytic, chronic myelogenous and hairy cell leukemia.
  • Lymphocytic leukemia affects the lymphoid cells that originate from the lymphatic system.
  • Myelogenous leukemia which affects the myeloid cells. The myeloid cells are responsible for the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.


  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Pain in joints and bones.
  • Frequent and mostly severe infections
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Enlarged spleen, kidney and the liver
  • Bleeding tendency or hemorrhagic tendency
  • Pallor or unhealthy pale appearance
  • Petechiae or small red spots on the skin
  • Bones become tender especially the sternum
  • Night sweats
  • Frequent bouts of fever and chilliness
  • Loss of weight


The causative factors are not known but it could be either because of genetic factors or environmental factors.

Risk factors:

  • History of cancer
  • People with a genetic disorder such as Down’s syndrome are at higher risk
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Exposure to certain chemicals and radiation.

Check here: Top 38 Accredited Cancer Hospitals from India

(Know more about Best Oncologists/Oncosurgeons in India.)

Patient care:

  • Prevent patients from getting infected by strict handwash rule along with special diets, laminar airflow or sometimes isolation measures.
  • Monitor patients for bleeding.
  • Discuss any alteration in physical and mental health with the doctor.


Hematopoietic Cancer: Risk Factors and Treatment

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