Source:  DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEUKEMIA AND IT'S SYMPTOMS    Tag:  philadelphia chromosome symptoms

Leukemia is cancer that originates in blood-forming tissue. The disease is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of blood cells, usually white blood cells (leukocytes), in the bone marrow. White blood cells are a fundamental component of the body's immune response. The leukemia cells crowd out and replace normal blood and marrow cells.

Types of Leukemia:

There are four main types of leukemia:
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
Following are the symptoms of all different types of Leukemia:

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Symptoms:

All symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia are often similar to those of the flu and can include the following:
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale skin
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches

Other Potential Signs and Symptoms of ALL may Include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Frequent infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Easy bruising
  • Swollen lymph nodes around the neck, underarm, stomach or groin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Symptoms:

Because AML makes abnormal cells that crowd out normal healthy cells, many of its symptoms are a result of the low number of healthy blood cells in the body. Some AML symptoms include:

  • Frequent Infections and Fever

The job of white blood cells is to ward off infections and protect our bodies from foreign germs and bacteria. Because AML reduces the number of healthy white blood cells, the body is not as capable of defending against foreign germs and bacteria. Therefore, patients with AML may have an increased rate of infections and fevers.

  • Anemia

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. The low level of healthy blood cells caused by AML may lead to feeling tired and/or weak, having shortness of breath and looking pale.

  • Easy Bleeding or Bruising

Platelets control bleeding. Having low levels in the blood can lead to easy bleeding or bruising. This can result in the slow healing of cuts, prolonged bleeding from minor cuts and bruises with no clear cause. It can also lead to petechiae, tiny red spots under the skin.

  • Joint and Bone Pain

The increased number of leukemia cells can cause pain in bones, joints or both.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Symptoms:

CLL is a slow-growing disease and many signs of CLL are vague. The symptoms of CLL tend to develop over time. For many people, CLL symptoms may at first seem to be some kind of non-specific change in overall health. There may be an increased sense of fatigue or weakness. Some people may experience flu-like symptoms, like night sweats or enlarged lymph nodes. Many people are diagnosed with CLL because of a blood test for an unrelated condition.
Some of the conditions that may arise as CLL slowly develop may include:

  • Anemia

Red blood transports oxygen throughout the body. Low levels of red blood cells may reduce the blood’s overall oxygen carrying capacity. This condition can be evaluated by a complete blood count (CBC) test. Symptoms of anemia may include weakness, fatigue, and lack of energy and shortness of breath.

  • Leukopenia

Lymphocytic leukemias affect the white blood cells responsible for producing antibodies and warding off disease. A decrease in the functional lymphocytes may diminish the body's immune system. Symptoms of leukopenia may include reduced immunity, more frequent infections and fevers.

  • Thrombocytopenia

Blood platelets are the particles in the blood that aid with clotting. A CBC test may reveal a low blood platelet count in patients who have CLL. Symptoms of thrombocytopenia may include easy bruising, bleeding or nose bleeds, and bleeding gums.

  • Swollen Lymph Nodes

In some cases, the leukemia may spread to the lymph nodes. The clusters of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin may become noticeably swollen from the accumulation of excessive amounts of cancerous lymphocytes.

  • Enlarged Liver or Spleen

The excess lymphocytes may build up in the liver or spleen. An enlarged liver or spleen may cause a feeling of fullness after eating a small meal, loss of appetite or swelling in the abdomen.

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Symptoms:

Also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a form of cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood. It begins in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and then, over time, spreads to the blood. Eventually, the disease spreads to other areas of the body.

Typically, being categorized as chronic indicates that this type of leukemia spreads and grows slowly. However, CML can change from slow progressing into a rapidly growing, acute form of leukemia that can spread to almost any organ in the body.

Unlike the three other main types of leukemia, CML has a significant difference that sets it apart from the rest. It has been shown that CML is associated with an abnormal chromosome known as the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph chromosome).

Chromosomes are structures in cells that contain genes, which give instructions to the cells. The Ph chromosome is an abnormality that occurs when a piece of chromosome 22 breaks off and attaches to the end of chromosome 9, which also breaks off and attaches to chromosome 22.

The breaks in both chromosomes cause the BCR and ABL genes, which combine to create the cancer gene. The link between the Ph chromosome and CML was discovered around 1960.

According to the American Cancer Society, there were approximately 5,050 CML incidences in the United States in 2009. CML accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all types of leukemia, with the average age of diagnosis being 67.