Symptoms of Leukemia in Children
1) Easy bruising.
2) Fever, cold hands, and feet.
3) Unusual bleeding or bruising under the skin.
4) Fatigue, pale skin color.
5) Shortness of breath or chest pain when coughing or breathing deeply.
6) Loss of appetite, weight loss, feeling very weak.
7) Feeling tired all the time, even after sleeping well for a long time…etc.
Is leukemia curable in a child:
Diagnosis of leukemia differs in children because the symptoms are very similar to other conditions. Doctors look for signs that may include:
When parents give their children medicine like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol), they will notice whether there is a reaction. Parents should also watch for bruises and bleeding as well as infections. A fever could also be a sign of leukemia. These symptoms don’t always show up right away, but you should contact the doctor if your child is experiencing any of them.
What is leukemia?
Leukemia is cancer that starts from blood-forming cells called stem cells in the bone marrow and results in excessive production of abnormal white blood cells called leukocytes (or blasts). This causes the blood to become thicker than average and unable to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body. Doctors use the term leukemia to describe cancer that starts in any kind of blood-forming tissue, including cells within the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.
The most common types of leukemia are:- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia:
The three main subtypes of ALL are B-cell ALL, T- cell ALL, and mixed cellularity ALL. Treatment depends partly on which type of cancer your child has. Acutely ill children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) typically receive intense chemotherapy, often followed by stem cell transplantation. The survival rate for ALL has dramatically improved in recent years.
All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), a derivative of vitamin A, is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, also called APL or M3 subtype of ALL. This type of cancer requires prompt treatment with ATRA to prevent the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). All patients diagnosed with AML will undergo intensive chemotherapy.
what causes leukemia in children:
It is not known what causes leukemia, but it is believed that exposure to high doses of radiation or chemicals can cause this type of cancer.
Leukemia is hard to diagnose in children because the symptoms are very similar to other conditions. Blood tests are used to detect anemia or low white blood cell counts, indicating leukemia. If your child has these signs and symptoms, you must seek medical attention immediately.
The doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam, including checking for fever, weakness, infections, or bruising/bleeding. Your child might also have bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, or liver enlargement, depending on the subtype. If risk factors are present, additional testing might be done, such as a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy.
The most common types of childhood leukemia are acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Treatments for these cancers include chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation, and medication.
In some cases, cancer might be cured with treatment. In other cases, children may have a better quality of life if they stop treatment. There is no cure for AML in adults or children, but promising treatments are being studied.
Depending on your child’s diagnosis, he will be treated according to the specific protocol developed by his doctors. Your child will receive supportive care after his transplant while he adjusts to his new immune system.
This usually takes about six weeks. If your child’s cancer is diagnosed while being treated for another condition, his doctors will work closely to coordinate both treatments. Ongoing follow-up care is also vital to ensure that new cancers are detected early and treated successfully.
All babies should have a blood test soon after they’re born to check for sickle cell disease or disorders of the immune system (including leukemia) and other inherited conditions.
If any problems are found, treatment can begin immediately. It’s important not to miss these screenings because treatment works best when it starts early in life. Talk to your doctor if you think there might be something wrong with your baby or an abnormal newborn screen result in the past.
How to prevent childhood leukemia:
The exact cause of childhood leukemia is unknown, but several risk factors can increase your child’s chance of getting this disease. These include: Family history Being exposed to radiation or chemicals before birth, such as chemotherapy given to the mother during pregnancy Exposure to high levels of radiation later in life Chronic exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation (such as x-rays) Treating someone with chemotherapy for cancer. At the same time, they’re pregnant, Having had cancer at some point in the past.
Types of leukemia in children:
Acute leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells. The cancerous cells are immature and reproduce quickly, crowding out healthy blood cells. Treatments rely on killing the rapidly dividing cancer cells with chemotherapy or radiation. Chronic leukemia is an older name for what we now call chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
CML is a type of leukemia that produces too many abnormal white blood cells. These extra white blood cells do not work as they should, leading to infections and relapses. CML is treated by using medication that kills the faulty white blood cells instead of radiation or harsh chemo drugs
Allogeneic stem cell transplant:
the process by which bone marrow or peripheral stem cells from a donor are infused into a patient. In some cases, donor stem cells may be collected from the blood or bone marrow of the transplant recipient before high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy is begun to kill off the cancerous cells. The resulting “graft versus tumor effect” is intended to eliminate any remaining traces of cancer in the transplanted patient’s body.
The period immediately following a transplant when signs and symptoms during treatment might reappear or new ones develop. For example, if your child had nausea and vomiting from chemo drugs, he might experience mouth sores after his transplant. Please talk with your child’s doctor about these possibilities so you can manage them better at home.
How does leukemia spread:
In most cases, leukemia cells can’t travel through the bloodstream into other parts of the body. But some types of leukemia can spread through the blood and lymph nodes to affect bone marrow, the liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), or testicles. If cancer has spread outside your child’s blood and lymph systems, it’s considered metastatic (or Stage IV).
cancer stem cells:
stem cells are immature blood cells that develop into one of three major types: red blood cells that carry oxygen, white blood cells that fight infection, and platelets that help clot. Cancer stem cells behave similarly to healthy ones but give rise to more abnormal daughter cells instead of healthy ones.
Effects of leukemia:
The pooled effect is tiredness because people who have cancer cannot fight infections and other people; they are more susceptible to insect bites and can suffer damage to their skin if they do not use proper sunblock. Chemo drugs make the white corpuscles, red corpuscles, and platelets less effective at fighting infection because chemotherapy drugs kill most cells they come in contact with.
Chemotherapy drugs sometimes damage the blood vessels so that the skin, organs, and other tissues do not get enough oxygen to survive. So it can be helpful to give people on chemotherapy drug a lot of water or tea with honey because it contains more oxygen than ordinary tea or water; an infusion of plants like ginseng that release minerals into the water is also good (Tzu Chi Foundation offers this for free).
Another effect is anemia, sometimes caused by cancer treatment. Anemia may cause weakness, feeling tired, headaches, fainting when standing up suddenly, or even death due to lack of oxygen transport in the body. For children who are increasing, having less blood means they cannot grow healthy bones.
Most common childhood leukemia:
The most common childhood leukemia is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The significant subtypes are B-cell ALL, T-cell ALL, and Hodgkin’s Disease.
During the initial stages of treatment for leukemia, bone marrow samples are taken to see what subtype of cancer they have. From these samples, doctors can determine how aggressive their cancer is. To further investigate this information, doctors may use other tests, including a complete
blood count, to look at specific types of white cells or platelets in the sample, which will give them clues as to what kind of treatment will be best suited for your child. Many regimens are used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia; it is called “acute” because it can become resistant if treatment is not continued.