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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

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Sources of Benzene in the environment include gasoline, automobile exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, emissions from coke ovens and other industrial processes, and waste water from certain industries.

Over 30,600 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia every year. Of this number, approximately half are diagnosed with ALL or AML, the acute forms of the disease. Acute leukemia progresses rapidly: without immediate treatment, survival time is measured in months. With treatment, the prognosis is much more positive, and many cases of acute leukemia can be kept in remission, or even cured.

What is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)?

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is a malignant cancer that develops in a persons white blood cells called lymphocytes. White blood cells are used by the body to ward off disease and infection. Under normal circumstances, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia is rare among adults only about 1,500 adults get the disease each year in the US . However ALL is the prevalent form of leukemia in children. Nearly 85 percent of leukemia in children is ALL. In adults, the disease may be related to genetics or exposure to solvents containing Benzene.

Although some experts question the relationship of benzene to Acute Lymphocyctic Leukemia, there is a decent amount of information showing that Benzene can in fact result in acute Lymphocytic leukemia. It has been shown that this type of leukemia accounts for about 10% of all benzene induced leukemia. Without treatment Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia quickly progresses to a life-threatening condition.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia - How Does the ALL Progress?

Leukemia is a cancer that begins in the bone marrow, where blood cells are developed. Abnormal white blood cells (WBC) begin to reproduce, accumulating in the bloodstream and bone marrow and crowding out healthy white blood cells, red blood cells (RBC), and platelets. Left unchecked, the disease may spread to other organs, usually the liver and the spleen.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia - Treatment

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia is treated with a combination of anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapy). A hospitalization of 3 to 6 weeks may be necessary for initial (induction) chemotherapy, however, subsequent chemotherapy sessions may be administered on an outpatient basis. Additionally, isolation procedures may be necessary if the lymphocyte count is very low to prevent exposure to infectious agents.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia - Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy typically consists of a combination of 3 to 8 medications which may include: prednisone, vincristine, methotrexate, 6-mercaptopurine, and cyclophosphamide. It may also be necessary to administer blood products (e.g., packed red blood cells, platelets) to correct the anemia and low platelet count. Antibiotic therapy may be required to treat any secondary infections that develop.

After remission is achieved, chemotherapy or radiation therapy is administered in the spinal column to treat any leukemic cells that may have invaded the spinal fluid.

Subsequent therapy is directed at preventing relapse and consists of maintenance chemotherapy for up to one year. A bone marrow transplant after high-dose chemotherapy is a treatment option for cases that relapse or do not respond to other treatments.

Resource Links for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)   (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)   (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia - photomicrograph

Leukemia, Adult Acute (National Library of Medicine)

What is Acute Leukemia?   (American Cancer Society)

Leukemia, Adult Chronic (National Library of Medicine)' Lymphoma   (National Institutes of Health)


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