Acute lymphocytic leukemia

6 June 2016

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which is known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is a kind of cancer which initiates from white blood cells in the bone marrow which is the soft inner part of the bones called lymphocytes. In some subtypes of acute leukemian, it quickly shifts into the blood from where it can spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, testes, central nervous system that is brain and spinal cord and spleen. In acute lymphocytic leukemia, the bone marrow cells are not properly mature.

These immature leukemic cells are often called blasts, which continue to reproduce and replicate. Because without treatment, most patients cannot survive less than a few months. Some of the cases of acute leukemia have a less favorable outlook, however mostly acute leukemia responds well to treatment and many patients are cured, therefore treatment is necessary.

Leukemia is diverse from other kinds of cancer that may establish in these organs and after that increase to the bone marrow. However these cancers that start somewhere else and after that spread to the bone marrow are not leukemia. The term Acute means that the leukemia build up rapidly, and if it is not treated, would possibly be deadly in only some months. Lymphocytic or lymphoblastic indicates that it develops from cells which are known as lymphocytes or lymphoblasts.

Causes of ALL

Although definite causes for ALL are not recognized, however there are a few identified risk factors, counting ionizing radiation. Exposure to certain chemicals, mainly benzene which is used in the manufacture of plastics, rubber, and some medicines, has also been linked with an increased risk of increasing ALL. ALL occurrence in adults rises with age.

In children, the causes of ALL are also unidentified. Certain inherited genetic abnormalities, for example Down syndrome, can enhance the risk. A number of studies have revealed that prenatal exposure to ionizing radiation increases a child’s risk of ALL.  Several reports recommended to an increased risk of ALL among children who lived in closeness to high voltage power lines, however later some studies suggested that was not true. ALL is more general in children who are not firstborn and among those whose mothers took antibiotics throughout their pregnancies. Breastfeeding has been found to be caring and protection from ALL. (John, p. 1)

  Symptoms of ALL

Some of the primary symptoms of ALL are quite a definite, however worsen to the point that medical help is required to indiscriminate weakness and fatigue, Anemia, Regular or unknown fever and infections, Weight loss and/or loss of appetite, Excessive bruising or bleeding from wounds, nosebleeds, red pinpoints on the skin, Bone pain, joint pains which is caused by the increase of blast cells to the surface of the bone or into the joint from the marrow cavity, Difficulty in breathing and Enlarged lymph nodes, liver and/or spleen.

Major signs and symptoms of ALL are due to the lack of normal and healthy blood cells since they are crowded out by malignant and immature white blood cells. As a result, people with ALL occurrence symptoms from their red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets not working correctly. Laboratory tests which might demonstrate abnormalities comprise blood counts, electrolytes, renal functions and liver enzymes.


ALL is less familiar than AML in adults; every year, around fifteen hundred adults are diagnosed with ALL, as compared to ten thousand diagnosed with AML. Leukemia is a major cause of more deaths in children under 15, around 550 each year, than any other virus. Around one thousand deaths of adults from ALL every year and the generally five-year survival rate for adults with ALL are 58 percent. (Pui, p. 420)

In the U.S., ALL is highest among Caucasians and lowest among Asian-Americans. The occurrence of ALL is about 50 percent higher for men as compare to women. Death rates of patients due to leukemia are maximum in African-Americans and Caucasians and minimum in Asians. (Pui, p. 421)


To conclude with the prevention from ALL, there are only some preventive procedures to acquire against ALL. “Those who work with chemicals must be cautious, mainly around benzene. Pregnant women must keep away from exposure to ionizing radiation to decrease the risk to their unborn children”. (Robert, p. 1) Parents of children with ALL have definite concerns concerning the long-term consequences of treatment for ALL, for example learning disabilities. Organizations devoted to youth cancer, hospital social workers, pediatric oncologists and other parents can be vital resources when supporting for the academic requirements of the child with ALL.

  Works Cited

Lackritz, Barb. Adult Leukemia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly & Associates, 2001.

Pui, C.H. “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Children.” Current Opinions in Oncology 12, no. 1 (January 2000): 3-12. Weisdorf, D.J. “Bone Marrow Transplantation for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).” Leukemia 11, Supp. 4 (May 1997): 420-2.

Laszlo, John, M.D. The Cure of Childhood Leukemia: Into the Age of Miracles. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995.

Patenande, Robert. Surviving Leukemia: A Practical Guide. Quebec: Firefly Books, Ltd., 1999.


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