Acute leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It is characterized by the rapid growth and accumulation of immature white blood cells, or blasts, which do not function normally and cannot fight off infections like healthy white blood cells. As a result, the body becomes more susceptible to infections and bleeding.
There are two main types of acute leukemia: acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). ALL is more common in children, while AML is more common in adults.
Symptoms of acute leukemia may include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Fever and chills
- Frequent infections
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Swollen lymph nodes or abdomen
Diagnosis of acute leukemia involves blood tests and bone marrow biopsy to confirm the presence of abnormal cells in the blood and bone marrow. Treatment for acute leukemia typically involves chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells, followed by stem cell transplantation in some cases. Other treatments may include targeted therapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy.
The outlook for acute leukemia depends on various factors, including the type of leukemia, age of the patient, and response to treatment. In general, children with ALL have a better prognosis than adults with AML. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are important for improving the chances of a successful outcome.