Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow, the spongy center of the bones that makes blood cells. It is characterized by the abnormal proliferation of leukocytes (white blood cells). The abnormal white blood cells are not mature and, therefore, cannot carry out their infection-fighting function in the blood. These cells crowd out healthy white blood cells, as well as the red blood cells which carry oxygen to the body and the platelets which cause the blood to clot. Leukemia is part of the broad group of diseases called hematological neoplasms.
A fourfold typology classifies leukemia on the bases of the disease’s duration from onset to death and of its dominant cell-type (Pui 2003). Acute leukemia is characterized by the rapid generation of immature blood cells (blast cells), which crowd the bone marrow, preventing it from producing healthy mature blood cells. The rapid accumulation of the blast cells can spill over into the bloodstream and spread to...
References and Readings
- Pui, C.-H. (2003). Treatment of acute leukemias: New directions for clinical research. New York: Humana Press.Google Scholar
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