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Impact of cancer on children versus adults: Understanding leukemia, challenges, and treatment health news


Leukemia presents unique challenges in children and adults. Childhood cases like acute lymphoblastic leukemia are more common but cure rates are high. Leukemia in adults, especially the acute type, often has a poor prognosis. Treatment methods vary, with children usually undergoing intensive therapy and adults often requiring a bone marrow transplant in high-risk cases.

What is leukemia?

Dr Aditi Shah Kaskar, Consultant Hemato-Oncologist and Bone Marrow Transplant Physician, HCG Cancer Center Borivali says, “Leukemia, a type of cancer affecting blood and bone marrow, originates in the cells responsible for making blood cells, especially bone. in the marrow. When a person has leukemia, that means their white blood cells (WBCs) are affected. The condition can be fatal and is divided into four main types based on the progression of the disease and the type of blood cells affected.”

“Childhood leukemia, especially acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is common in children under 5 years of age but can occur in older children and adolescents. Diagnosis involves a complete blood count and bone marrow examination. Treatment includes intensive chemotherapy, immunotherapy , and transplants in high-risk or poorly responding cases, which include bone marrow. Common side effects include low blood counts, infections, bleeding, and hepatitis,” added Dr. Aditi.

Leukemia is a type of cancer

Here are the different types of leukemia cancer that can occur in children and adults:

1. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): This rapidly progressive leukemia primarily affects lymphoid cells, a type of white blood cell, and is more common in children.

2. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): A rapidly progressive form that affects myeloid cells, another type of white blood cell, occurs in both children and adults.

3. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): A slow-progressing form that affects mature lymphocytes and is more common in older adults.

4. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): A slowly progressive leukemia that primarily affects myeloid cells and is more common in adults.

Leukemia treatment

Dr. Aditi highlighted that proper treatment can cure childhood leukemia, stressing the need for treatment by a specialist in a well-equipped hospital. In addition to treatment, psychological support, arts and crafts and continuing studies are essential. Parents play an important role in caring for their children, learning about hygiene, diet, food preparation, infection prevention and symptom recognition.

Regular follow-up after treatment is important to monitor for growth and long-term side effects such as endocrine dysfunction. In adults, both acute and chronic leukemia can occur. Acute leukemia requires rapid treatment with intensive chemotherapy, possibly including a bone marrow transplant. Chronic leukemia progresses more slowly; CML can be controlled with oral medications and CLL may not require immediate treatment.

Dr. Aditi concludes, “Like children, adults with acute leukemia should be treated by a specialist at a well-equipped hospital. Bone marrow transplantation is a curative option in high-risk cases if the patient is suitable for the procedure. Proper treatment and care. Those with leukemia can significantly improve outcomes for patients, emphasizing the importance of timely and specialized medical intervention.”

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