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Sunday, November 27, 2022

What might be the cause of recent hike in leukemia cases in Nigeria

leukaemia cases in Nigeria have risen quite a number over the decade. Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer, caused by an increase in the number of white blood cells in the body.

There are four main types of leukaemia which include:

  1. Acute lymphocytic leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It further affects the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made.

The acute lymphocytic leukaemia disease progresses rapidly and creates immature blood cells, rather than mature ones.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the commonest childhood malignancy worldwide, outside of malaria-endemic Africa.

  1. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia arises from B cells, a kind of white blood cell. It advances slowly and equally affects elderly people. 

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia may show symptoms in the early stages until later years. Swollen lymph nodes, tiredness, and easy bruising are some of the symptoms that may arise. 

Treatment isn’t usually required at first, however, it may involve chemotherapy. Stem-cell transplantation is consequently utilized in extreme situations of aggressive kinds. 

  1. Acute myeloid leukaemia

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a kind of blood and bone marrow malignancy. It is the most frequent kind of adult acute leukaemia.

If left untreated, this kind of cancer generally worsens swiftly. AML can also be referred to as acute myelogenous leukaemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia. 

Symptoms include fatigue, recurring infections, and easy bruising. 

Chemotherapy, additional medication therapy, and stem-cell transplants are among the treatments available. 

4. Chronic myeloid leukaemia  

Chronic myeloid leukaemia similarly affects elderly people. It is produced by an unintentional chromosomal mutation. Doctors are unable, to sum up, the cause of the recent mutation. 

Many patients do not have symptoms until later in the disease’s progression. Therefore, the diagnosis is only possible through routine blood testing.

When symptoms do appear, they include easy bleeding, fatigue, weight loss, pale complexion, and night sweats. 

Targeted medications, stem-cell transplants, chemotherapy, and biological therapy are among the treatments available. 

Summary of Acute and Chronic leukaemia 

Acute leukaemia is incredibly rare and in the same way, the most rapidly progressing cancer we know of. The white cells in the blood grow very quickly, over a matter of days to weeks.

Patients with acute leukaemia may have normal blood work or no health symptoms, a few periods before the diagnosis. The transformation may be fairly striking.  

Chronic leukaemia, as opposed to acute leukaemia, develops slowly. It might take months or even years before the illness shows symptoms.

It is typical for chronic leukaemia to be discovered in routine blood checkups because it grows slowly and may not produce symptoms.

If a patient does not see a doctor for several years, the condition can go undiscovered for a long time. Abnormal cells can further accumulate and develop into an enlarged spleen within the period. 

First stage symptoms of leukaemia 

Fever or chills. 

Persistent fatigue, weakness. 

Frequent or severe infections. 

Losing weight without trying. 

Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen. 

Easy bleeding or bruising. 

Recurrent nosebleeds. 

Tiny red spots on your skin (petechiae)  

Environmental factors  that can cause leukaemia 

Environmental factors may increase the risk of developing leukaemia: 

  1. Certain chemotherapy drugs. 

2. Petrochemicals (such as benzene) 

3. Tobacco smoke. 

4. Certain hair dyes 

5. Exposure to high levels of radiation and certain chemicals  

Treatments for leukaemia

Leukaemia treatments depend on the type of leukaemia you have, your age and overall health. Treatments also depend on how farther the leukaemia has spread to other organs or tissues.  

There are five common treatment categories.  

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is chemicals (medications) given in a pill form. administered through an IV into a vein or a central line or given in shots under the skin.

The chemicals kill leukaemia cells or stop them from dividing further. Additionally, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used. The treatment is also the most common form of treatment for leukaemia.  

Radiation therapy: This treatment uses strong beams of energy to kill leukaemia cells or stop them from growing further.

Furthermore, radiation is directed to exact sites in your body where there is a collection of cancer cells or can be given over your whole body as part of a hematopoietic cell transplant. 

Read: Nigeria suffers terrible heatwave, with no relief in sight

Immunotherapy: This treatment, also called biologic therapy, uses certain drugs to boost your body’s own defence system and immune system to fight leukaemia. 

Targeted therapy: This treatment employs medications that target certain characteristics of leukaemia cells.

The function of the targeted treatment prevents leukaemia cells from multiplying and dividing further. The treatment cuts off the blood supply required for the cells to survive or specifically destroys the cells directly.

Additionally, normal cells are less likely to be harmed by targeted treatment.  

Hematopoietic cell transplantation: This treatment replaces malignant blood-forming cells damaged by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy with fresh, healthy hematopoietic cells.

Healthy hematopoietic cells expand and multiply, generating new bone marrow and blood cells that develop into all the different types of cells.

 

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