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Childhood Leukemia and causes of the disease

Cancer is a disease that can happen to anybody including children.

It develops when cells in the body start to grow out of control. Cancerous cells can grow in almost any part of the body, including the blood.

On the other hand, Leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood. It mostly starts in the early forms of white blood cells. These cells get released into the bloodstream before they are fully developed or healthy enough to perform their duties. These cancerous cells may be found in the bone marrow, blood, and other tissue and organs.  

Leukaemia is one of the most common cancer in kids and teenagers. At least one in four cases of cancer diagnosed in children is leukaemia. When a child has leukaemia, the bone marrow creates abnormal blood cells that do not mature( mostly white blood cells). The abnormal cells reproduce very quickly and don’t work the same as healthy cells.

There are different types of leukaemia in children. But the most common types are; Acute lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukaemia (ALL) and Acute myelogenous leukaemia. Acute leukaemia is the type of cancer that involves rapidly growing cancer cells while Acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) involves slower-growing cancerous cells.

Photo Credit: Futureofpersonalhealth

What causes leukaemia in children?

The actual cause of leukaemia in children is unknown, but some inherited conditions increase the risk for childhood leukaemia. However, most childhood leukaemia is not inherited. 

Also, research has found genetic mutation as one of the most common causes of leukaemia. This happens when there is a change in the genes of the bone marrow cells. These changes may appear early in a child's life or before the child is born and they may be sporadic.

Who is at risk for childhood leukaemia?

Other factors may include, exposure to high radiation, inherited syndromes like Down syndrome and Li-Fraumeni syndrome, having an inherited condition that affects the body's immune system, family history of the diseases.

The symptoms depend on many factors. These may include the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, thymus, brain, spinal cord, gums, and skin.

Some symptoms of the disease may include, dizziness, trouble breathing, fever, bleeding gums, weight loss and joint pain.

Content created and supplied by: DrGeraldine (via Opera News )

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