Classification of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
The subtypes of acute lymphocytic leukemia are defined by the type of lymphocyte cells affected and how mature they are.Following is the classification of ALL:
B-cell ALL: Healthy B-cell lymphocytes produce antibodies.When acute lymphocytic leukemia affects the B-cells then it is categorized as B-cell ALL. Types of B-cell ALL are listed below:
Early pre-B ALL
Mature B-cell ALL
T-cell ALL: T-cells are also a type of lymphocyte that takes part in the immune response. The sub-categories of T-cell ALL are:
Mature T-cell ALL
Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Below are the listed the common symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia:
Loss of appetite
Increased incidence of infections
Weakness or feeling exhausted
Dyspnea or shortness of breath
Swelling of lymph nodes at the neck, abdomen, underarm or groin causing lumps
Risks of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Previous cancer treatment involving radiation therapy or chemotherapy
Exposure to high doses of radiation. For instance survivors of nuclear reactor accidents.
Certain blood disorders, like, polycythemia vera, idiopathic myelofibrosis and others.
Syndromes that cause genetic mutations at birth, for instance, Down Syndrome.
Medical history of the patient’s sibling with ALL.
Diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Blood Test to check the blood count of the patient
Bone Marrow Test to determine the patient’s medical condition to be leukemia
Lumbar Puncture or spinal tap to check whether there is a spread of ALL in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Imaging tests such as X-ray, CT Scan MRI and ultrasound to check for swollen lymph nodes, affected areas in the central nervous system (brain and spine), and spread of ALL to other internal organs of the body.
Treatment of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
The treatment of acute lymphocytic leukemia is provided in four phases namely induction therapy, consolidation therapy, maintenance therapy and preventive treatment to the spinal cord.
In induction therapy, the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow are killed so as to restore the normal blood cells.
The consolidation therapy, also known as post-remission therapy, is aimed to destroy the remaining leukemia cells in the body, for instance, in the brain and the spinal cord.
In maintenance therapy, recurrence of leukemia cells in the body is prevented.
Preventive treatment to the spinal cord is provided to the patient in each phase of the treatment procedure in which additional treatment is provided to him/her to kill leukemia cells in his/her central nervous system. In this phase of the treatment, chemotherapy drugs are directed injected into the fluid that covers the spinal cord.
Following are the treatment options for acute lymphocytic leukemia:
Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy includes providing pills or injecting chemotherapy drugs into the patient’s veins that flow into the blood stream and destroys the leukemia cells.
Targeted Drug Therapy:Targeted drug therapy also consists of drugs that are provided to the patients to kill the leukemia cells. But the difference between chemotherapy and targeted therapy is that chemotherapy may also destroy healthy cells whereas in case of the latter, the drugs identify only the leukemia cells and kills them.
Radiation Therapy:In radiation therapy, high-powered beams are used to kill leukemia cells. It is recommended by the hematologists and oncologists when ALL spreads to the central nervous system.
Stem Cell Transplant:A stem cell transplant gives the patient the opportunity to rebuild healthy blood cells in his/her body. Stem cells are extracted from a compatible donor and are transplanted into the patient’s body after the existing leukemia cells have been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Factors affecting the cost of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment
The following factors affect the treatment cost of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:
The hospital, the patient chooses.
Room –Standard single room, deluxe room, super deluxe room for the number of nights specified (including nursing fee, meals, room rate, and room service).
The type of acute lymphocytic leukemia suggested by the hematologist.
Fee for the team of doctors.
Standard test and diagnostic procedures.
Cost of the follow –up care required after the procedure.