Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood cells of the body. This type of cancer starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the lymphatic system. In this type of cancer, the white blood cells of the body increase in number and don’t function like they’re supposed to. So, it may lead to numerous problems in the body. This type of cancer occurs because of issues in the production of blood cells in the body. Leukemia can occur to anybody and at any age.
The main cause of this type of cancer is damage to the DNA of immature cells of the blood, primarily in the white blood cells. Due to this damage, the blood cells divide and grow constantly, and this will increase the number of blood cells enormously. Due to this, the healthy blood cells may get damaged, and these healthy blood cells are then replaced by new blood cells. These new blood cells are defective, and they do not die. They may start accumulating and occupying more space. In this way, this form of cancer spreads all over the body.
There are several symptoms of this type of cancer.
The most common symptom of leukemia is excessive tiredness. This type of fatigue is different from other common types of tiredness. This type of tiredness does not get better with time or rest, and it will affect a person’s daily routine. They may also experience shortness of breath because of leukemia.
- Frequent infections
Under normal conditions, the white blood cells fight off any infectious agents which cause infections in the body. But when these normal white blood cells are replaced by abnormal white blood cells, it makes a person prone to developing infections as there are no healthy white blood cells to protect them.
- Enlarged lymph nodes
Several times, the cancer cells collect in the lymph nodes, causing swelling and tenderness. Many people feel the enlargement of lymph nodes in many parts of the body.
When these cancerous cells accumulate in the bone marrow, it can reduce the production of platelets in the body. This condition is known as thrombocytopenia. Thrombocytopenia linked with leukemia can take any form like skin spots, bruising, nosebleeds, heavy periods, and bleeding gums.
- Unexplained fevers
When an individual suffers from this type of cancer, they may experience high body temperatures several times. There will be no specific reason for these fevers, and there are many causes which could be responsible for this symptom like different infections in the body.
- Night sweats
Another common symptom of this type of cancer is night sweats. It may also be linked to the frequent fevers caused by leukemia.
- Abdominal pain
A patient with this form of cancer may also experience pain in the abdomen because of the accumulation of abnormal white blood cells in the liver and the spleen.