Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
What is cancer? i_wear_leukemia_ribbon_for_my_hero_button-p145340291292368515tmn2_210.jpg
Cancer is not just one disease; it’s a group of more than 100. Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells which tend to multiply in an uncontrolled way, and in some cases can spread throughout the body.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
ALL is a fatal disease in which cells that normally grow into healthy white blood cells (which fight off infections) stop develping before they are mature, causing a profusion of useless-immature white blood cells. These immature white blood cells become cancerous and rapidly replace normal blood cells in the bone marrow. I chose to research Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia because it is the most common childhood cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 2,700 children are diagnosed with Leukemia in the U.S. every year. ALL affects the bone marrow where white blood cells are made. These white blood cells then cannot perform their duties of fighting off infections and other bad things in your body. ALL is also known to affect your blood, brain and even testes.

What are the risk factors?
Not many risk factors have been associated with ALL. If you have had other forms of cancer and then been treated with high doses of radiation is really the only thing so far proven to make one have higher chances of developing ALL. Also ALL is known as a childhood disease, so being young puts you at risk more than someone past the age of development and growth. Also Leukemia is not hereditary, but they have somewhat narrowed it down to a gene that causes the Leukemia and believe that that gene can be shut off, or turned on. But there is not enough research yet to determine what turns that gene on.

Symptoms Of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Since Leukemia affects the blood cells and the blood cells travel throughout the body the symptoms mostly depend on how many and where the leukemia cells are. Children with ALL have usually have low amounts of healthy red blood cells and platelets causing the child to look pale and feel week and tired. They may also bleed and bruise easily. Other symptoms include: fever, fatigue, frequent infections, swollen or tender lymph nodes, liver or spleen, tiny red spots under the skin and bone and joint pain.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia acounts for 25% of all cancers in children younger than 15 years old.
Nearly 80% of children with Acute Lyphoblastic Leukemia are cured.
Only 3.3 percent died of leukemia underthe age of 20
1 in 79 men and women born today will be diagnosed with leukemia at some point during their lifetime.

Prognosis and Treatment
Before treatment was available, most people who had ALL died within 4 months of diagnosis. Now nearly 80% of children and about 40% of adults are cured of ALL. The main treatment used is chemotherapy for those with ALL. Chemotherepy is administered in phases to destroy the leukemia cells. Blood platelet transfusions are sometimes necessary when using chemo to prevent bleeding, and treat anemia. Antibiotics and intravenous fluids are also often needed to help the body rid itself of harmful substances. In some cases radiation is also used to help reduce the tumor size but usually is only for those with ALL pertaining to the CNS (central nervous system). Blood and marrow transplantation to replace diseased bone marrow has recently been a new and successful treatment for ALL.

Chemo is the most accepted and widely used primary treatment for ALL. Chemo is the introduction of cancer-fighting drugs into the blood stream. Chemo can be given via mouth or intravenously. Chemotherapy is a very complex particular treatment which involves multiple drugs given in precise schedules over at least a year. Chemotherapy has many side effects because it can not tell the difference between fast growing cancer cells, and fast growing healthy cells. Some side effects include
  • Low white blood cell count
  • low red blood cell count
  • low platelet count
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hair loss
  • fatigue

Chemotherepy cost
Some chemo drugs are fairly cheap ranging from about $100-$300 range. Whereas other newer drugs can be very expensive especially when used together ranging from $20,000-$30,000 and that’s just for the drugs alone. Many patients suffering from Cancer cannot afford such high cost of treatment. Paying for ex tended treatment which would prevent relapse can be impossible for some causing them to make the decision to skip it completely. Even those with insurance can rack up debt, some give up all together.

Preventing Cancer

The best ways to prevent cancer are actually a lot simpler than you may have thought
· Avoid Tobacco: this can prevent cancer of the lungs, mouths, throat, bladder, and pancreas.
· Limit sun exposure: if you enjoy laying in the sun try to lay out before 10:00 am or after 4:00 pm, and always use sunscreen!
· Limit or avoid alcohol consumption: alcohol can lead to cancer of the colon, breast and liver, and if you also smoke it increases the chances of head and neck cancer.
· Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day: People who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a decreased risk of developing many different cancers.
· Know your family’s history: cancer can be genetic.
· Get screened: catching cancer early can be life or death.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia genes ID'd

The silence of certain genes plays an important role in the prognosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia as well as in response to treatment, according to the results of research from the University of Navarra. Their research confirmed the inactivation of a certain gene by a mechanism which changes the functions of genetic code, is associated with higher mortality amongst patients with ALL. The study involved 353 patients- 179 children and 174 adults with ALL.

Works Cited
"Causes and Risk Factors." Causes and Risk Factors of Leukemia. 08 May 09.
"Reduce Your Risk." Prevent Cancer. June 08. 09 May 09.
"Undrstanding Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia." Childrens Cancer research. 09 May 09.
"What is the Cost of Chemo." 09 May 09.