OGUN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The fast proliferation of aberrant blood cells is a hallmark of leukemia, a disease of the bone marrow and blood.
Scientific investigations have shown that these aberrant cells push out good blood cells, making it difficult for your body to function properly.
The spongy material that makes up the bone marrow is located inside the bones. Too many immature or dysfunctional white blood cells that are unable to combat infection and healthy white blood cells are produced by the bone marrow in cases of leukemia.
As a result, they can also interfere with the production of other blood cells, such as red blood cells and platelets.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organisation, it accounted for 5.9 per cent of all cancer cases in Nigeria in 2020.
Out of about 124,815 new cancer cases within the period, leukaemia was the least compare compared to breast cancer (22.7 percent), prostrate (12.3 percent), cervical (9.7 percent), colorectum (6 percent), and other cancers (43.5 percent).
There are many different types classified by the category of white blood cells affected and how quickly the disease progresses.
The four main types of leukaemia are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) – the most common type of leukaemia in children; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) -the most common type in adults; acute myeloid leukaemia (AML); and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
Children face the highest risk of sudden blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), though anyone can get it.
The cause is usually a mystery, but researchers have linked some genetic markers and external factors.
Doctors have made huge strides in treatment, especially for children, with powerful drugs helping many beat the disease.
Those who are older and have experienced a relapse, however, still have less luck. The future appears bright with exciting new treatments utilizing the body’s immune system, such as CAR T-cells.