In the world of cancer, leukemia is one of the most common and most deadly diseases. Over the years, it has also been an active area of research. This research has revealed that leukemia can occur in multiple forms at varying ages, and one of these forms is chronic leukemia. There are two different types of leukemia called Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. These are distinguished based on their symptoms and treatments. Therefore, the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia symptoms, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia treatments, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Symptoms, and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia treatments will be detailed in this article.
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Symptoms
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatments
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Symptoms
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatments
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Symptoms
The symptoms of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia resemble several other cancers. These symptoms include weakness, fatigue, night sweats, and weight loss. Because leukemia is a disease of the white blood cells, people will also experience bone pain because the bone marrow that produces these white blood cells has been damaged. One of the unique symptoms from CML is an enlarged spleen. This occurs because when the immune cells die, they are often disposed of in the spleen. In fact, patients with CML are at risk for splenic rupture. This is a potentially deadly complication because people with CML are already struggling to produce enough red blood cells, platelets, and properly functioning white blood cells.
- Common symptoms of CML include fatigue, night sweats, and weight loss.
- One of the unique symptoms is an enlarged spleen.
- If the spleen ruptures, this could potentially be a deadly complication.
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatments
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is unique because the research showed a fantastic drug target that pharmaceutical companies have targeted. In fact, if this disease is caught early it is almost universally treatable. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia results from a mutation in an enzyme called Tyrosine Kinase. A DNA mutation in the coding for this enzyme leads to CML. Drug companies developed a medicine called Gleevec that specifically targets the cells with this enzyme defect. Therefore, this drug is able to target cancerous cells without destroying the body’s own cells. Over the years, there have been numerous derivatives of Gleevec (Imatinib) developed including Tasigna and Sprycel. CML treatment is one of the miracles of modern medicine and is a model for how every cancer should be researched and treated, if possible.
- CML treatment specifically targets the Tyrosine Kinase mutation in the CML cell line.
- This drug is called Gleevec (Imatinib) and functions to exclusively target the cells with this mutation.
- In this manner, only the cancerous cells are targeted, leaving the body’s healthy cells spared.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Symptoms
Another chronic form of leukemia is called Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Given its name, this is a disease that features enlarged lymph nodes. Notably, these enlarged lymph nodes will be painless. Patients will also experience the fatigue, weight loss, and night sweats that are seen in other cancers. People may also experience high fevers and possible infections due to the mutated white blood cells. Most people that are diagnosed with CLL are over the age of 60 years.
- CLL is mostly a disease of the elderly, striking people over the age of 60.
- It shares symptoms with other cancers, notably fatigue, weight loss, and night sweats.
- CLL also features enlarged, but painless, lymph nodes.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment
The typical treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia consists of chemotherapy that is designed to target the cancerous cells that cause CLL. Over the years, research has revealed numerous drug targets that seek to destroy cancerous cells based on their mutations. One of these options is a monoclonal antibody called Rituximab that binds to the cancerous cells and targets them for destruction. People commonly also use a steroid called prednisone to decrease their white blood cell production. People also commonly take a cyclophosphamide called Cytoxan to destroy the cancerous cells.
- There are several drug targets for CLL treatment. One of this involves using a drug called Rituximab.
- People typically take a steroid to decrease their white blood cell production.
- Cytoxan is another common piece of the drug regimen.
In the end, it is important for patients and their loved ones to educate themselves on the differences between the various types of leukemia because it can impact diagnosis and treatment options. Talk to a medical professional for more information on this important illness.