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Leukaemia in Children: Facts about symptoms, diagnoses and treatment

  • Posted on- Oct 15, 2015
  • 205 Views

Cancer starts when cells start to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer. Leukaemia is a cancer where large numbers of abnormal white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. These abnormal white cells crowd the bone marrow and flood the bloodstream, but they cannot perform their proper role of protecting the body against disease because they are defective. As leukaemia advances, the cancer interferes with the body's production of red blood cells and platelets. This leads to low numbers of red cells and bleeding problems along with risk infection caused by white blood cell abnormalities.

It is tough for children to cope with cancers, but thankfully, the chances for a cure are very good with leukaemia. With proper treatment, most children with leukaemia will be free of the disease without the chance recurrence.

Symptoms related to childhood leukaemia

Because their infection-fighting white blood cells are defective, children with leukaemia may have more viral or bacterial infections than usual. They also may become anaemic because leukaemia affects the bone marrow's production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Other symptoms of leukaemia can include:


Tests and diagnosis for childhood leukaemia

Tests and diagnoses for childhood leukaemia may include:

Treatment options for childhood leukaemia

Treatment for childhood leukaemia depends on patient’s age and initial white blood cell count. Treatment options include:
  • Chemotherapy is the common treatment for childhood leukaemia, although the dosages and drug combinations may be different. Chemo can be given orally, into a vein, or into the spinal fluid.
  • Other forms of treatment include radiation therapy which uses high energy rays to destroy cancer cells, targeted therapy which involves drugs that identify and attack cancer cells without harming normal cells and stem cell transplants where healthy stem cells into the body are introduced.

With the right kind of treatment, the prognosis of childhood leukaemia is extremely good. Most childhood leukaemia cases, when treated properly show no evidence of cancer cells in the body.