What Is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia, is a form of cancer that affects the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. This type of leukemia is the most common form of leukemia in children and adolescents and is also seen in adults. It is fast-growing and can spread quickly if left untreated.
Causes of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
The exact cause of ALL is not known, but there are several risk factors that can increase a person’s risk. These include: being of advanced age, exposure to radiation, certain chemical exposures, having a family history of the disease, and having certain genetic disorders.
Symptoms of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Symptoms of ALL vary, but common ones include: weight loss, night sweats, fevers, frequent bruising and bleeding, bone pain, and an enlarged liver or spleen. Other symptoms may be present depending on the stage of the disease.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
A diagnosis of ALL is made after examination of a blood sample and tissue biopsy. Treatment typically includes both chemotherapy and radiation to treat the cancer and reduce the risk of relapse. A stem cell transplant may also be recommended in some cases.
Health Impact of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Having ALL can significantly affect a person’s physical and emotional health. Treatment can be rigorous, and the side effects from chemotherapy and radiation may cause long-term health concerns. Additionally, a person is at greater risk for infection due to their weakened immune system.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is an aggressive form of cancer with an unknown cause, and it can spread quickly if left untreated. Its diagnosis is based on blood and tissue tests, and treatment typically includes chemotherapy and radiation. Treatment can cause long-term health effects and weaken the immune system, which increases the risk of infection. It is important to contact a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms associated with ALL.