Essay by jeffm53High School, 12th gradeA-, May 2004

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Leukemia strikes both sexes of all ages and the causes of most cases are unknown Leukemia is a form of cancer that begins in the blood -forming cells of the bone marrow, which is the soft inner part of the bones. Leukemia, which literally means "white blood" in Greek occurs when there is an excess of abnormal white blood cells in the blood. These are known as leukocytes and these cells are so plentiful in some individuals that the blood is actually a whitish colour. Under normal circumstances, the blood cells that are being formed of the bone marrow make leukocytes to defend the body against contagious organisms such like viruses and bacteria. But, 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. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 1993, there were 29,000 new cases of leukemia diagnosed, accounting for 2.5%

of all new cancer cases that year. Out of the diagnosed cases, 60% were acute leukemia, the type of leukemia that rapidly progresses 1. (National Cancer Institute, Leukemia)

The leukemic cells developed by the disease accumulate and lessen the production of oxygen- carrying red blood cells (erythrocytes), platelets (blood clotting cells) and normal leukocytes. If leukemia is left untreated, leukemic cells overwhelm the bone marrow, enter the bloodstream , and eventually invade other parts of the body. These parts include sections such as the lymph node, spleen, liver and the central nervous system. Therefore, the behaviour of leukemia is different than that of other cancer because they usually begin in major organs and then ultimately spread to the bone marrow. (National Cancer Institute, Leukemia)

There are many symptoms of leukemia. The symptoms of leukemia are quite similar for all the...