Leukemia – By Areez


This issue is relevant to me because when I lived in Jakarta, someone who was really close to me was diagnosed with leukemia. I lived in a neighborhood where everyday we would all come out and play. I remember, a few days passed and we didn’t see him for a while, only his brother would come out. Days passed, and I asked what had happened. I vaguely remember hearing somewhere that he had a form of cancer. I didn’t believe it until I talked to his family. I really realized how much this would change everything, for everyone around him. I realized how hard it would be for all the families that had to suffer this challenge and obstacle. And it clearly explains how it can affect teens all around the world. I mean, his family moved to America, and had so many other big changes in their lives in such a short period of time.

(the picture is of leukemia cells)

leukemia cells

I learned so much about leukemia doing this research. Leukemia is a type of cancer that creates an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells (AKA Blasts). They affect your blood, bone marrow and lymphoid system. Some of the symptoms of leukemia are damage to the bone marrow, lack of platelets (which is important for blood clotting). This means that it is easier for them to become bruised or develop petechiae. Petechiae are small/purple spots caused by bleeding into the skin. But the symptoms depend on the type of leukemia. Some of the common symptoms are fever/chills, frequent infections, weight loss (without trying), a lot of sweating (especially at night), and bone pains. The positive thing is, that there are so many different options for treatment. When youhave acute leukemia, you have to have treatment right away. But if you have chronic leukemia, you can wait for treatment. Here are some of the different types of treatments:

Watchful waiting: Watchful waiting is for when patients have chronic leukemia and they want to wait and see what happens. Usually, this means that they have to go for regular checkups every 3 months. Some people choose not to do this because they don’t want to live with untreated leukemia.

Chemotherapy:  This is when you use drugs to destroy leukemia cells. The dosage depends on the type of leukemia, and it shows if it’s just one drug or a combination. And there are different ways to receive chemotherapy; pills, needle in the vein, catheter (thin, flexible tube) placed into a large vein which is often in the upper chest.  Chemotherapy is usually taken in cycles, and there are many other ways to receive chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy (AKA radiotherapy): This type of treatment uses high energy rays to kill leukemia cells. Side effects depends on dosage of radiation and part of  the body.  I am so glad that we have found so many options for treatment for leukemia. I have learned so much more about leukemia, the symptoms and the treatments.