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Childhood Leukaemia – What is it, Symptoms, And Treatment

White blood cell cancer, or childhood leukemia, is the most prevalent form of cancer in kids and teenagers. In the bone marrow, abnormal white blood cells are created. They move swiftly through the bloodstream, displacing healthy cells. This increases the likelihood of infection and other issues in the body.

Even though having cancer as a child is difficult, it’s comforting to know that most kids and teenagers with childhood leukemia can receive successful treatment.

What Is Leukaemia

Lymphocytes, which make up white blood cells, are impacted by leukemia. It has an impact on the bone marrow, which produces blood cells, and the blood. Leukaemia can be acute, showing up suddenly and progressing rapidly, or chronic, showing up gradually and progressing slowly. Most cases of pediatric leukemia are severe.

In order to monitor and treat any side effects, children with leukemia typically require therapy for two to three years as well as continuous, routine checkups.

Children can develop a variety of forms of leukemia, including:

  1. The most prevalent kind of leukemia in children is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myeloblastic leukemia, is another name for this disease.
  2. A rare form of childhood leukemia called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most prevalent leukemia in adults.
  3. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which is far more common in teenagers than in children.

Different types of leukemia have different cell types that determine how they develop, how they are treated, and how likely they are to respond to treatment. For more info click here bone marrow transplant in India.

Symptoms of Leukaemia in Children

Signs of childhood leukemia can have numerous factors that affect the symptoms. All tissues and organs, including the blood, bone marrow, and blood vessels, may contain cancerous cells. The lymph nodes, liver, spleen, thymus, brain, spinal cord, gums, and skin may all be among them.

Each child’s symptoms may manifest a little differently. Early signs of childhood leukemia may consist of:

Symptoms of Leukaemia in Children

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Pale skin
  • Feeling tired, weak, or cold
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Swollen lymph glands (nodes)
  • Belly (abdominal) swelling
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing
  • Frequent or long-term infections
  • Fever
  • Easy bruisings or bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds

Leukaemia symptoms can resemble those of other medical diseases. Make sure your child receives a diagnosis from a medical professional.

Helpful:- What is Hairy Cell Leukemia And How Can it Be Treated

Childhood Leukemia Survival Rate

Doctors frequently use survival rates as a typical approach to talk about a child’s prognosis. These figures show what proportion of kids in comparable circumstances—such as those with the same type and subtype of leukemia—are still alive after receiving a specific period of time since their diagnosis. They can’t predict exactly what will occur in a certain child’s instance, but they can help you understand the likelihood that the treatment will be effective. Survival rates can be useful to certain people, but not to others.

The average 5-year survival rate for ALL, the most prevalent kind of leukemia in children, is 94.4 percent for those under the age of 5, according to the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). For older kids under the age of 15, the percentage drops slightly to 92.5 percent.

Helpful:- Bone Marrow Transplant For Leukemia in India

Causes of Leukaemia in Children

It is unknown what specifically causes childhood leukemia. Childhood leukemia risk is increased by some diseases that are inherited from parents and passed on to offspring. But most cases of childhood leukemia are not hereditary. The genes of the bone marrow cells have undergone modifications (mutations), according to researchers. These modifications could happen at a young age or even before birth. But they could happen randomly (sporadic)

Risk

Your child’s risk of developing childhood leukemia rises if they:

  • a genetic condition like Klinefelter syndrome, Down syndrome, or Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • a congenital immunologic condition like ataxia telangiectasia
  • a twin, especially an identical twin, who has leukemia
  • a background of radiation, chemotherapy, or chemicals like the solvent benzene at high doses
  • an immune system suppression history, such as after receiving an organ transplant.

Helpful:- Why The Cost of Leukemia Treatment In India Is Different From The Cost Of Leukemia Treatment In Western Countries

Diagnosis of Leukemia in Children

A complete medical history and physical examination will be performed by the doctor to determine the presence of childhood leukemia. Both the type and the diagnosis of pediatric leukemia are determined by tests. Initial evaluations could involve:

  • Blood tests to count and examine the blood cells’ appearance
  • Leukaemia diagnostic confirmation with bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, typically performed on the pelvic bone
  • A spinal tap or lumbar puncture to look for the spread of leukemia cells in the fluid around the brain and spinal cord
  • X-ray: An X-ray takes images of bones and other bodily tissues using a small quantity of radiation.
  • Sonography, or ultrasound: In this exam, visuals are produced by a computer and sound waves.

Under a microscope, a pathologist analyses the blood test cells. Additionally, this specialist counts the number of fat cells and blood-forming cells in bone marrow samples. To assist identify the type of leukemia your kid might have, more tests may be carried out. These examinations aid in determining the likelihood that the leukemia will react to therapy. In order to monitor how your kid responds to treatment, these tests might be repeated later. Learn about cancer treatment in India.

Treatment of Leukaemia in Children

It could be necessary to first treat your child’s low blood counts, bleeding, or infections. Your kid might get:

  • Red blood cell transfusions are given when blood levels are low.
  • Platelet-rich blood transfusion to stop bleeding
  • Antibiotics to treat infections of all kinds

The type of leukemia and other circumstances will affect the course of treatment. Any of the following methods can be used to treat leukemia:

1. Chemotherapy: These drugs either eliminate cancer cells or prevent them from proliferating. They can be injected into a muscle, administered intravenously (IV), through the spinal canal, or eaten orally. The majority of childhood leukemias are treated primarily with chemotherapy. Several medications are frequently administered at various periods. Typically, it is carried out in cycles with breaks in between. This provides your kid with some time to get over the negative effects.

2. Radiation treatment: These are X-rays with high energy or other radiation. They are used to eradicate cancer cells or prevent their growth. 

3. Chemotherapy at a high dose combined with stem cell transplant: The child or another person’s stem cells are used to create new blood cells. A significant amount of chemotherapeutic medication follows this. The bone marrow is harmed by this. The stem cells are changed after treatment.

4. Targeted therapy: If chemotherapy doesn’t work, these medications might. For instance, it could be applied to the treatment of childhood chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The side effects of targeted therapy are frequently less severe.

5. Immunotherapy: This therapy aids the body’s immune system in combating the cancer cells.

6. Support care: Treatment side effects are possible. Pain, fever, infections, nausea, and vomiting can all be treated with medications and other medical procedures.

The prognosis for a child with any type of cancer varies depending on the malignancy. Keep in mind: 

  • For the best prognosis, seeking medical attention soon away is crucial.
  • Following up is necessary both during and after therapy.
  • In an effort to reduce side effects and enhance outcomes, new treatments are being investigated.

Best Hospitals for Leukaemia Treatment in India

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