Leukemia in children and adolescents
Under 15 years of age, leukemia is the most common cancer in children. The diagnosis affects the whole family. Meanwhile, leukemia is no longer a death sentence, because the chances of recovery exceed 85 percent.
What is leukemia?
Leukemia or blood cancer is the collective name for several diseases of the blood. Leukemia occurs in the bone marrow, the place where blood is made. It is characteristic of leukemia that abnormal white blood cells (leukocytes, ie lymphocytes, granulocytes, monocytes) multiply uncontrollably and crowd out healthy blood components. There are lymphatic and myeloid leukemias, which can be acute or chronic. Lymphatic leukemia begins with lymphocyte precursors, myeloid leukemia with granulocyte/monocyte precursors.
The causes of leukemia are largely unknown. However, there are several factors that increase the risk of contracting the disease. This includes hereditary predispositions, radioactive rays, X-rays, but also certain chemicals. However, no trigger factor can be proven for a large proportion of leukemia.
Diagnosis and therapy
The mother places her hand on a girl’s forehead to take her temperature. If leukemia is suspected, the doctor will take a history and physical exam. A complete blood test provides information about changes in blood values. A bone marrow puncture and subsequent laboratory tests can confirm the suspicion of cancer. As soon as the specialist diagnoses leukemia, it is important to act quickly. Because in children cells divide much faster than in adults.
Finding the right therapy for blood cancer in children
Depending on the type of leukemia, the appropriate therapy is selected. In German-speaking countries, there are precisely defined rules about when tests should be done and what chemotherapy is appropriate. The chances of a cure for acute leukemia are 85 percent.
In addition to doctors, nurses are also a very important point of contact for parents and children. Each year, a member of the nursing team completes specialized training to become an oncology nurse. Age-appropriate training of young patients is especially important.
Children who have been cured of cancer are usually examined at regular intervals over a ten-year period. These regular check-ups ensure that the blood cancer has not returned or that it is being fought from the beginning. Psychological care offers are also available to the whole family. To find out more about treatment for leukemia, visit About LAC Healthcare Solutions.