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What happens to someone when they get Leukemia?

Related Topics: Leukemia

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Medical Reference

In most cases of leukemia, there are too many abnormal white blood cells. These leukemia cells crowd out the normal blood cells in your bone marrow and build up in your lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. This makes it hard for your body to fight infections.

Your white blood cells help your body fight infection. Your red blood cells make sure all your body parts have the oxygen they need. Your platelets keep you from bleeding too much. When the leukemia cells crowd out your normal cells, your blood cannot do its job. You may bleed or bruise easily, have more infections, and feel very tired.

Chemotherapy or radiation that is used to treat other cancers, such as breast cancer or Hodgkin's lymphoma, can sometimes cause leukemia months or years later.2 (This is rare.)

Survival rates are different for different kinds of leukemia. A 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who are still alive 5 years or more after being diagnosed. But keep in mind that everyone is different. These numbers do not necessarily show what will happen in your case. Researchers are continuing to develop new and better treatments for leukemia. The 5-year survival rates are:

  • For acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), as low as 5% to 10% for older people who have worse types of AML or as high as 75% for young people. Your survival rate will depend upon your age, overall health, and the type of AML.
  • For chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), about 75%, depending on your age, overall health, and other factors.3
  • For chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in people who receive a bone marrow transplant, over 70%. (This applies to people age 50 or younger who are treated in the first year after diagnosis. Transplants are not as successful for older people or for people who have had CML for more than a year.)4
  • For CML in newly diagnosed people taking imatinib (Gleevec), over 85%.5

The leukemia-free period for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) depends on age. In general, children are more likely than adults to have a long leukemia-free period with treatment.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Read the Original Article: Leukemia-What Happens
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