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What is Leukemia?

By May 19, 2017Cancer, Leukemia

One of the types of unfortunate cancers covered under your EEOICPA and RECA benefits is leukemia. Leukemia is a cancer of the body’s white blood cell production and is almost always malignant, claiming the lives of more than 24 thousand Americans in 2016 alone. Leukemia patients have a better-than-ever chance of leukemia going into remission once they are diagnosed with it, as the survival rate is at 61 percent, but it still afflicts thousands of new people every year. Leukemia has also been identified as an occupational illness with potential causes rooted in exposure to different carcinogens found in industrial sites. If you or a loved one is struggling with leukemia, the following will help you discover more about it is and how to combat it if you have contracted as an occupational illness.

Leukemia – Cancer of White Blood Cells

Leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for fighting off infections and are produced in the body’s bone marrow. When someone develops leukemia, their white blood cells are produced and divide at a rapid rate. The rapidly dividing cells no longer function as they are supposed in addition to blocking other healthy blood cells from flowing to the rest of body. The lack of blood flow can cause other serious health problems, such as anemia or poor circulation, but with no healthy white blood cells to fight off infection, even something as small as the common cold could result in disastrous consequences.

Symptoms

There are several symptoms that accompany leukemia which seem fairly innocuous at first, as they present somewhat like a cold. Leukemia, however, will perpetuate normal cold symptoms that generally last for at most 2 weeks into months if left undiagnosed. Some of these chronic symptoms include fevers, sweating, swelling in the lymph nodes, fatigue, bleeding easily, bone and joint pain, and skin lesions. Though these symptoms are common, they may vary from individual to individual, as leukemia presents differently on a case-by-case basis.

Causes of Leukemia

Like many cancers, the specific cause of leukemia is by and large unknown, but there are many factors that could contribute to the formation of leukemia. Those who have worked with artificial ionizing radiation are at a higher risk of leukemia, as the radiation waves can alter the DNA of premature white blood cells. Energy workers in the United States have been at risk of leukemia due to radiation exposure, which is why those who have been diagnosed with leukemia from their occupational pursuits qualify to receive free healthcare services under EEOICPA or RECA. In addition to radiation exposure, certain viruses, petroleum products, heavy metals, and smoking have correlated links to the formation of leukemia.

Treatments

Advances in medical treatments and understanding of leukemia have led to some great breakthrough treatments that have saved thousands of lives. These treatments include any combination of pharmaceutical medication, radiation therapy, and in certain cases, a bone marrow transplant. The pharmaceutical medications, known to many as chemotherapy, stop cell growth and division in an attempt to curb white blood cell divisions and thus kill off the unhealthy and underperforming cells. Radiation therapy used radiation to kill off unhealthy cells by shooting them with high-energy waves, though this approach runs the risk of developing other cancers later. Bone marrow transplants include removing unhealthy bone marrow and replacing it with functioning bone marrow from a donor. All of these advances may be considered for courses of treatment, depending on how aggressive the cancer is.

How Home Health Services Help

There is a lot of medication and healing that a person with leukemia has to go through in order to be restored to new. Our free home health services help by offering counsel to family members struggling with a loved one’s cancer in addition to providing quality health care and services to those going through leukemia treatments. If you or a loved one is an EEOICPA or RECA beneficiary, you are entitled to these services. We hope you will take advantage of them so we can help you fight leukemia and can help you live a quality life doing the things you love to do. Call us at (800) 314-2383 today to get started.