Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, and is characterized by the rapid growth and accumulation of immature white blood cells, or lymphoblasts. It is the most common type of cancer in children, although it can occur in adults as well.
The exact cause of ALL is not fully understood, but genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Symptoms of ALL 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 ALL involves blood tests and bone marrow biopsy to confirm the presence of abnormal cells in the blood and bone marrow. Treatment for ALL 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 ALL depends on various factors, including the age of the patient, the subtype of ALL, and the response to treatment. Children with ALL generally have a better prognosis than adults, and patients with certain genetic abnormalities may have a poorer prognosis. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are important for improving the chances of a successful outcome.