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Environmental effects on leukemia - Essay Example

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Leukemia is a disease which is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterized by an abnormal proliferation of blood cells, usually white blood cells. Leukemia is considered to be a part of the broad group of diseases called hematological neoplasms. Leukemia is an…
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Environmental effects on leukemia
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Leukemia is clinically and pathologically split up in to its acute and chronic forms. The acute form of leukemia is characterized by the rapid growth of immature blood cells. “Acute forms of leukemia can occur in children and young adults.” (Wikipedia, 2006). If left untreated, this form of leukemia will cause the patient to die within months or even weeks. The chronic form of leukemia is different in that it is distinguished by the excessive buildup of relatively mature, but still abnormal, blood cells. “Chronic leukemia mostly occurs in older people, but can theoretically occur in any age group.” (Wikipedia, 2006). Effects of leukemia are things such as damage to the bone marrow, by way of displacing the normal marrow cells with increasing numbers of malignant cells; and easy bruising, excessive bleeding, and even the development of pinprick bleeds (or petechiae). Other related symptoms of leukemia include: fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms; weakness and fatigue; loss of appetite and/or weight; swollen or bleeding gums; neurological symptoms (headache).
The effects that the environment has on leukemia are many. Firstly, there are possible environmental causes in relation to the cause of childhood leukemia. Although not many agents have actually been officially documented as causes of leukemia, in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, most researchers believe that “…it takes 2 or 3 ‘hits’ to the DNA in just the right places to turn a normal developing cell into a leukemia cell.” (Ped-Onc Resource Center, 2005). These ‘hits’ are considered to be either totally and completely random, or that perhaps they are due to causes or exposure to something in the environment.
The effects of the environment in regards to leukemia is not only categorized with children, however. Our blood perfuses all of our body’s organs and can carry toxic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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