The cancer of the blood is called leukemia. Like all the cancers, leukemia too can be cured completely if it is detected early. There are several tests that can ascertain if you have this dreadful disease. So, be aware of the signs and symptoms of leukemia.
Blood is made up of blood cells such as the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and the platelets. White blood cells help your body in fighting external infections. Platelets help in the clotting of blood and RBCs carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Cancer can affect the normal functioning of these blood cells—the cancer of the blood cells is called leukemia.
Generally, a person suffering from leukemia produces large number of white blood cells in the person’s bone marrow. With the increase in the number of white blood cells, the blood stream and bone marrow gets crowded. In leukemia, the defect in white blodd cells stop them from performing their main role, that is, protection of the body from diseases. If no proper treatment is done at the right time, the normal cells will also be affected by leukemia cells. In severe cases, a person suffering from leukemia may suffer from many other serious problems such as bleeding, anemia, or infection.
Symptoms of Leukemia
With the diverse types and subtypes, the early stages of leukemia can be different for different people. Some of the common symptoms include headaches, fever and night sweats, bone or joint pain, bleeding easily, getting a lot of infections, feeling of tiredness or weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss.
If you experience the aforementioned symptoms of leukemia, the doctor may suspect that you have leukemia. However, before coming to any conclusion, the doctor may prescribe several tests that may range from spinal to blood test to indentify leukemia. The doctor may check for abnormalities or lumps as a part of physical exam to diagnose leukemia. A complete blood test can help in the detection of leukemia. A complete blood test generally calculates the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. In addition to the complete blood test, other blood tests may be used to diagnose leukemia. These tests include peripheral blood smear that reveals the quantity and types of white blood cells along with determining the existence of blast cells. To test out changes in the chromosomes of the lymphocytes cytonegic analysis is carried out.
Other Diagnostics for Leukemia
You should watch out for some warning signs of leukemia such as bleeding abnormally. You may experience bleeding gums, and you may also bleed excessively through bruises and cuts. Moreover, you may also find that the wounds heal at a slower rate. In rare cases, internal bleeding may also occur—which should prompt you immediately to visit the doctor.