Image for Leukemia
Leukemia

Related Terms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Background

  • Leukemia is cancer of the bone marrow and blood. The bone marrow is the soft, inner part of the bones that makes red and white blood cells. Leukemia is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of white blood cells (leucocytes).
  • Under normal circumstances, the blood-forming (hematopoietic) cells of the bone marrow make leukocytes to defend the body against infectious organisms, such as viruses and bacteria. Leukocytes fight infection through a process known as phagocytosis. During phagocytosis, the leukocytes surround and destroy foreign organisms. White blood cells also produce, transport, and distribute antibodies as part of the body's immune response. If some leukocytes are damaged and remain in an immature form, they become poor infection fighters that multiply excessively and do not die off as they should. Immature leukocytes are those that have just been formed in the bone marrow.
  • These damaged leukemic cells accumulate and lessen the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells (erythrocytes), blood-clotting cells (platelets), and normal leukocytes. If untreated, the surplus leukemic cells overwhelm the bone marrow, enter the bloodstream, and eventually invade other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). In this way, the behavior of leukemia is different than that of other cancers, which usually begin in major organs and ultimately spread to the bone marrow.
  • Leukemia can be acute (fast growing) or chronic (slow growing).
  • Further content available for subscribers only.

Types of Leukemia

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Causes and Risk Factors

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Complications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Diagnosis

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Treatment

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Integrative Therapies

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Prevention

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.