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It is a well-known fact that there are a lot of dangers in the world that put mankind into jeopardy. Diseases always were one of the most serious life threats to the humanity, as far as it is the most dangerous weapon against mankind existence itself. In the various countries talented medical researchers take their maximum efforts to penetrate the secrets of the viruses and diseases to save the people from being eliminated. Currently, we do not feel strong fears when we speak about pneumonia, measles and even poliomyelitis, for instance, because we are aware that these diseases can be controlled, properly cured, and give us a full recovery. Absence of fears is explained by the fact that major illnesses attack openly with obvious visible traits. Certainly, we do not want to diminish their dangerous and destroying nature here. But recently, such diseases, which create a group of the oncological ones, have started spreading all over the world with the horrifying speed. It is the main reason, why our work is devoted to the subject of Leukemia. Unfortunately, cancer has become a “well-advertised” disease nowadays that does not have any mercy either on the adults, or the children. With every year more and more people all over the planet start suffering from this dreadful malady; regretfully, till today there is no precise treatment of the oncology. Whatever doctors do, they try to kill a disease together with a patient’s efforts, using accessible contemporary methods of treatment and hoping for recovery. Any medical condition related to oncology usually creeps up on us; it makes us vulnerable and practically helpless, when we come to know about the diagnosis. There are many different types of the oncological sicknesses. Each type of cancer depends on the place the cancerous cells start appearing, a breast cancer, lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, for example. Moreover, there is not only a cancerous defeat of the concrete organ inside the body, but even blood can be affected by this tricky disease. One of the most dangerous types of cancer is leukemia, which is better known under the name of “white blood”. This name originates from the Ancient Greek, meaning leukos "white", and haima "blood”. Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. It develops inside the bone marrow. The main task of the bone marrow is blood cells production. The bone marrow in a healthy man’s body forms the following blood cells: white blood cells or leucocytes, which assist the body to fight infections and diseases; red blood cells or erythrocytes, which are responsible for the oxygen delivery, or better to say, oxygen circulation inside the body; and, at last, platelets (thrombocytes), thanks to them the blood keeps a capacity to coagulate preventing the excessive amount of the blood loss if a person is heavily injured. Platelets help the blood to clot, and by clotting the bleeding can be controlled.

The bone marrow of the leukemia-suffering person produces a big quantity of abnormal white blood cells, which are called leukemic cells. Leukemia begins when one or more white blood cells experience DNA loss or damage. Those errors are copied and passed on to the subsequent generations of cells. These mutated white blood cells stop functioning as normal leucocytes. They begin growing and dividing substantially faster, their growth does not cease, when the healthy blood cells usually stop. An excessive quantity of the white blood cells, which are often immature and are out of shape, suppress forming of the healthy leucocytes, erythrocytes and platelets. Eventually, such leukemic cells can crowd out and replace healthy blood cells that cause sensitivity increase to the infections, and result in such serious problems as anemia, bleeding, easy bruising, and other severe complications. The abnormal leukemic cells do not die off like normal cells. On the contrary, these mutated blood cells tend to multiply and accumulate within the body and inside the bone marrow, creating obstacles for other healthy cells proper functioning. Leukemic cells as well can penetrate the lymphatic nodes and other organs, provoking pain syndrome or tumor forming. 

There is a variety of forms of leukemia, and these types are classified according to the blood cell involved. Considering how fast the disease progresses leukemia is divided into the two common types - acute and chronic. The first type begins abruptly. In the acute leukemia, the abnormal blood cells are immature blood cells (blasts), which cannot carry out their normal work, and they multiply rapidly, so the disease worsens quickly. Acute leukemia requires immediate aggressive treatment. Chronic leukemia involves more mature blood cells. These blood cells replicate or accumulate more slowly and can function normally for a period of time. It is a reason, why some forms of chronic leukemia initially produce no symptoms and can go unnoticed or undiagnosed for years. Another factor defining the leukemia classification is the type of the damaged cells. If lymphocytes are involved into mutation process, then we deal with lymphoid leukemia; if myeloid cells are subject to abnormality, then we speak about myeloid leukemia. With reference to that, there are four subtypes of leukemia: a) acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which children often suffer from, but also can be met in adults; b) acute myeloid leukemia, which is spread among children, as well as the grown-ups (AML); sometimes this form is called an acute non-lymphocytic leukemia; c) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) mainly present with the adults elder than 55 years old. In some cases the patients can be of a younger age ; children rarely fall sick of this kind of leukemia; d) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is more specific for the adults, than the children. It was the first detected cancerous blood disease. There are other subtypes of the chronic leukemia but the defining features of them are similar to the already mentioned ones.

What causes the leukemia? This question unfortunately remains without the exact clear answer. However, researchers have discovered some risk factors that increase a person’s chance of getting the disease. Among these are long-lasting excess exposures to radiation and close contact with chemicals, for example, benzene.  Moreover, leukemia can be a consequence after chemotherapy courses, when a patient had been actually curing malignancy or another cancer disease. Химиотерапия - всегда ли выпадают волосы?Down syndrome, other genetic failures, and smoking are also among the risk factors that increase one’s chances to fall a victim of leukemia.

Nowadays, the experts have detected some more influential factors pointing out a virus nature of some type of leukemia, such as Human T-cell leukemia virus-I (HTLV-I). This virus causes a rare type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia known as human T-cell leukemia. Also it is identified that Epstein-Barr virus can push up leukemia’s development as well. — People possessing Myelodysplastic syndrome, which is another blood disorder, are at the increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia. In the past, some studies suggested to include in the risk group such factor as exposure to the electromagnetic fields, as another possible risk factor for leukemia. Electromagnetic fields are a type of low-energy radiation that comes from power lines and electric appliances. However, results from the recent studies show that the evidence is weak for electromagnetic fields as a risk factor for the development of leukemia. Nevertheless, most people, who come across with these risk factors, don't get leukemia. But the others, who get leukemia, do not have any stated risks.  

The first signs and symptoms of leukemia are vague. Initial signs also may be easily associated with other types of cancer or other medical conditions. In spite of the fact that leukemia’s signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of disease, there are some general features typical for all of them. Such symptoms of leukemia, which should cause anxiety in you, include the following: fevers, excessive sweating, especially in the night, fatigue and unreasonable weakness, malaise, abnormal bleeding, excessive bruising without falling or having a trauma, reduced exercise tolerance, weight loss, bone or joint pain, infection and fever, abdominal pain or "fullness", enlarged spleen, lymph nodes and liver. As already mentioned above, chronic leukemia is characterized with absence of symptoms and any other signs for a long period of time. This type of leukemia is often diagnosed during a routine blood checkup.

If a person has some doubts or is suspicions whether he or she has leukemia, the individual should not postpone a visit to the doctor. The doctor is supposed to ask a patient some questions about his/her health (get a complete medical history), which symptoms get him/her worried, to determine if these symptoms can be related to leukemia, and whether he/she is subject to any risk factors that can cause the medical condition. The doctor will do a thorough physical examination to look for any swollen lymph nodes, swollen lever or spleen, any signs of bleeding or bruising, skin color, signs of anemia, or other evidences of infection. Surely, every doctor will direct the patient to have a laboratory blood test to confirm or decline anxiety, because blood is like a mirror of a man’s health status. In case  the blood test shows an abnormally high level of white blood cells or platelets similar to leukemia, the doctor may send a patient to a cancer doctor (an oncologist) or a blood doctor (a hematologist), who may do a bone marrow biopsy. It is required for the diagnosis confirmation and for defining the type of the leukemia.

Except for the blood and bone marrow fluid tests, there are several kinds of imaging tests that people with suspected leukemia might go through. The doctor may use such tests as X-rays, CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, Ultrasound. Chest X-rays are used if the doctor thinks there could be a lung infection, but also can reveal the signs of leukemia. CT (computed tomography) scan can help in detecting any swollen lymph nodes or organs inside the body. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, like CT scans, produces a detailed picture of the soft tissues in the body. But MRI scans use radio waves and strong magnets, unlike the X-rays. MRI scans give a picture of the brain and spinal cord condition. Ultrasound is the use of sound waves to make pictures of organs inside your body. It can be used to look at lymph nodes near the surface of the body or to look for the enlarged organs inside your belly, such as the kidneys, liver and spleen. Gallium scans and bone scans can be useful if there is bone pain that might be caused by an infection or cancer in the bones.

Leukemia treatment is rather a complex process. The effectiveness of the treatment depends on the following factors: the type of leukemia, which is to be cured, its extent, patient’s age, whether a patient had earlier leukemia treatment, general health condition, and the severity symptoms. If there is an acute leukemia, the treatment has to be started without any further delay in order to stop growth of the blood-poisoning leukemia cells. If it is achieved positively, it is called remission. The second goal of the treatment is to prevent the disease from occurring again or relapsing. Presently, acute leukemia can be cured. As regarding the chronic leukemia, it is rarely effectively cured, but with the help of needful therapy there is a chance to control the course of the medical condition. As a rule, the chronic leukemia patients are cured after the symptoms appear. Only if chronic myeloid leukemia is diagnosed, the treatment starts immediately.

There are the following basic options of leukemia treatment: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, and biological therapy. Chemotherapy is a medication, during which a patient takes strong cancer-killing drugs. Some anticancer drugs are taken in pills, but primarily they are given by injection into a vein. Depending on the extent of the disease, it can be one drug or a combination of several ones. Chemotherapy is given in cycles, giving a patient time for recovery in between. Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other high-energy beams to damage leukemia cells and to stop their growth. It can also reduce the size of the swollen lymph nodes and the spleen. Sometimes, such radiation therapy is used prior to stem cell transplant. Stem cell transplant is a procedure to replace your diseased bone marrow with the healthy one. It can improve the functioning of one’s own immune system. Before transplantation the patient’s leukemia-producing bone marrow is destroyed by huge doses of radiation and drugs. Then it is replaced by the healthy bone marrow. Additional ways of treatment are biological therapy that assists one’s immune system to recognize and attack leukemia cells. Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific vulnerabilities within the cancer cells. However, such treatment is more aimed at keeping the disease under control. Each kind of treatment, whichever is chosen, has side effects, as far as trying to kill the cancer cells effects the healthy blood cells as well. Nevertheless, it is the only way to get rid of the disease. The stated variants of treatment still give hope for survival in the unequal fight with the malady. “For instance, the acute leukemia survival rate of patients has risen considerably in the last 40 years. The acute leukemia survival rates vary by age 50% in adult and 85% in children”. The researchers keep on searching for other alternatives in curing the cancerous diseases including leukemia.

Coming to the end of the present essay, we would like to summarize the stated. Leukemia is an oncological disease of the blood. It is caused by a combination of the genetic and ecological factors, but till now the exact causes remain unknown. To stay away from leukemia, we can only try to minimize risks and negative factors. Medicine determines several types of leukemia and dependently on the type there is a due treatment of it. Leukemia’s treatment is a complicate, energy and money-consuming process; though, it shows positive dynamics and gives hope for recovery and life prolongation to the patient.

Code: Sample20

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