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Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Leukemia in children is not much different from leukemia that attacks adults. This condition occurs when white blood cells (leukocytes) grow abnormally in large numbers. Get to know the symptoms, causes, and how to treat it in the following review.

Leukemia in Children: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Symptoms of Leukemia in Children

Leukemia or blood cancer is prone to occur in children. This condition disrupts bone marrow function. As a result, the production of blood components, such as platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells, is disrupted.

Some of the symptoms that children can experience include:

  • pale skin
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever or infection.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding (e.g. nosebleeds, bleeding gums, small red spots; purplish/dark patches on skin)
  • Hard to breathe.

In addition, children can also experience several conditions, such as:

  • Swelling of the face, armpits, arms, sides of the neck, or groin.
  • Losing weight or losing weight.
  • Bone pain or joint pain.
  • Headache.
  • seizures
  • Balance problem.
  • seizures
  • Abnormal vision.
  • Vomit.

Also Read: 8 Characteristics of Childhood Eye Cancer (Retinoblastoma) to Watch Out for

Causes of Leukemia in Children

Leukemia is caused by certain changes to the DNA in normal bone marrow. This condition causes cells to grow out of control and develop leukemia.

However, until now the exact cause of this condition is not clearly known.

In adults, this condition is heavily influenced by lifestyle or environmental factors. Meanwhile, leukemia in children mostly occurs due to genetic factors.

Several factors can increase your child’s risk of developing this disease, including:

  • Genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome or Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
  • Disorders of the immune system, such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, Ataxia-telangiectasia.
  • Family history of similar conditions.
  • Cigarette smoke exposure.
  • Obesity
  • Too much sun exposure.

Also Read: Exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of leukemia in children

Diagnosis of Leukemia in Children

The doctor will first do a physical examination and ask about the child’s medical history. After that, several tests were carried out to make a diagnosis. A number of tests can be done, including:

1. Blood test

This test is done by taking a child’s blood sample. The goal is to see levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

A low number of red blood cells and platelets can indicate that the condition leads to leukemia.

2. Bone Marrow Test

Tissue samples in the spinal cord will be taken using a long, thin needle. The goal is to find out the type of leukemia the child has.

3. Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap)

The test is used to look for the presence of leukemia cells in the cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid is in the brain and spinal cord.

4. Imaging Test

This examination is done to detect whether the leukemia has spread. There are several types of tests in question, including:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

Types of Leukemia that Can Occur in Children

Most cases are acute. This means, the disease progresses quickly. Only a small proportion of cases are classified as chronic leukemia.

The types of leukemia that can afflict children, including:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): About 3 in 4 cases of childhood leukemia are this type of cancer.
  • Acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML): This type of leukemia is one that often affects children.
  • Hybrid or mixed lineage leukemia: This type is rare, but it can affect children who have both ALL and AML.
  • Chronic myeloblastic leukemia (CML): This condition rarely affects children.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): Similar to CML, this type of leukemia is relatively rare.
  • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML): This is a rare type of childhood leukemia. This condition can take place acutely or chronically and often affects children under 4 years of age.

Treatment of Leukemia in Children

The treatment given will depend on the type of leukemia you have and your overall health.

However, in general, several treatments can be given, including:

  • Chemotherapy: Treatment will be given by doctors to kill leukemia cells and prevent cancer from multiplying.
  • Immune therapy: This therapy can help increase a child’s resistance to fight cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Rays with high radiation will be used to kill leukemia cells while preventing their growth.
  • Targeted therapy: Doctors will prescribe drugs specifically to treat certain parts of the leukemia cells. That way, these cells will not harm normal cells.
  • Bone marrow transplant: The act of replacing damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.

Also Read: Recognize 9 Types of Cancer that are Vulnerable to Attacking Children

Leukemia Complications in Children

This condition can cause complications, both short and long term. Some of the complications in question include:

  • Severe bleeding.
  • Serious infection.
  • Cancer reappears.
  • Gore.
  • Heart and lung problems.
  • Other cancer growths.
  • Delay in child development.
  • Bone problems.
  • Central nervous system disorders.

Until now there is no definite step to prevent leukemia. However, pregnant women are advised to avoid radiation exposure.

  1. Anonymous. 2022. Prevent Leukemia or Blood Cancer. (Accessed February 14, 2023).
  2. Anonymous. Leukemia in Children. (Accessed February 14, 2023).
  3. Stuart, Annie. 2022. Childhood Leukemia. (Accessed February 14, 2023).

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