Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia project

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Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
By: Will Thrasher
Leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood; forming tissue such as the bone marrow and
causes large numbers of blood cells to produce and enter the bloodstream. Acute
Lymphoblastic Leukemia is one of the four common types of leukemia. Acute Lymphoblastic
Leukemia or (ALL) affects lymphoid cells and grows quickly. This horrible cancer accounts for
more than 5,000 new cases of leukemia each year. ALL is the most common type of leukemia in
young children, and also affects adults. In 2012, an estimated 5,730 men and women will be
diagnosed with ALL and 1,420 men and women will die. (“National…”)
Causes
There are only a few know risk factors for ALL. Some of the causes are due to exposure
to high levels of radiation. A good example of this would be the Japanese atomic bomb
survivors; the survivors had an increased risk of developing acute leukemia, usually within 6 to
8 years after exposure. ALL is also linked behind excessive exposure to the chemical Benzene,
which is basically a chemical that is found in everyday items like glue, cleaning products,
detergents, art supplies and certain chemical industries. ALL is most commonly found in whites
then African Americans, and is more commonly found in females. (“The…”)
Symptoms
There are many symptoms of ALL. In most cases people go to their doctor because they
feel sick, and in some cases may complain of headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle
control, or seizures. Leukemia also can affect other parts of the body such as the digestive tract,
kidneys, lungs, heart, or testes. (“The…”)
Diagnosis
There are a series of tests that doctors can perform. A few being a physical exam, where
the doctor just checks for swollen spleen, liver or lymph nodes. Another being a blood test,
where the doctor takes a sample of your blood and sends it to a lab where the lab does a
complete blood count to check the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
And finally, a biopsy, where your doctor removes tissue to look for cancer cells. This is sad to be
the only sure way to know whether leukemia cells are in your bone marrow. These are the
three most common diagnoses; others may include a cytogenetic test, a spinal tap test and a
chest x-ray. (“National…”)
Treatments
There are many treatment options for people with ALL. These options are watchful
waiting, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell
transplant. Treatment can depend on your age and statistics say that people under the age of
25 have a higher chance of survival. It also may depend on certain features of the leukemia
cells. Your doctor also considers your symptoms and general health. Aside from the statistics
you should be treated right away, and as soon as possible. (“National…”)
Reason For Topic
The reason I chose to do my research paper on this particular type of cancer was
inspired by what I saw on TV. In October of 2011, I was watching a pregame show for a college
football game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. During that pregame show, they did an
interview with one of Oklahoma State’s wide receivers; Justin Blackmon. In the interview they
went into depth of his background and a little girl that inspired him, the little girl had Acute
Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was told that she would not live. It was a few months after word
that she met the Justin, and then became great friends. She would go on to live by the words
“love cures ALL” and would inspire the young wide receiver to do the same. Long story short
the message was very inspiring to me. I haven’t REALLY known anyone to die from cancer, nor
to have been affected. So that is why I decided to do my project on ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic
Leukemia).
Works cited
"National Cancer Institute." Comprehensive Cancer Information -. Web. 11 Mar. 2012.
<http://www.cancer.gov/>.
"The American Cancer Society." American Cancer Society. Web. 11 Mar. 2012.
<http://www.cancer.org/index>.
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