Doctors determine the type of leukemia based on certain factors, such as the type of blood cells attacked and its progression. Lymphocytic leukemia occurs from cells that produce B lymphocytes or B cells, T lymphocytes or T cells, or NK (natural killer) cells. Every cell has a special role to play in the immune system. While some produce antibodies, others fight or direct the immune cells to tackle infections.
Acute leukemia develops rapidly. As a result, the malignant cells are incapable or immature to perform their functions in the immune system. Chronic leukemia, on the other hand, develops in cells that are more mature and capable of performing some of the functions. However, the functions performed are rather poor. Such abnormal cells mostly multiply at a slower pace as compared to acute leukemia.
Major types of leukemia include the following:
1. Hairy cell leukemia
Hairy cell leukemia is a rare form of leukemia and is chronic. It is mostly observed in adults and is detected when performing tests for low blood count. Over a thousand individuals in the country develop this type of leukemia every year. The average age of the majority of people diagnosed with this type of leukemia is around fifty-two. This type of leukemia is commonly found to affect males more than females. There is no evidence that proves this condition to be hereditary or due to environmental factors.
2. Acute lymphocytic leukemia
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is a rare form of cancer. It is found to affect around three thousand adults every year in the country. This condition is more common among the elderly. Moreover, it is common among females and African-Americans. This type of leukemia, however, also affects children. It comprises three-quarters of cases of pediatric leukemia. No matter what the age, the treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia is about the same, except for the dosage.
3. Acute myeloid leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia is among the most common types of leukemia in adults. Around twenty thousand individuals in the country report this condition every year. The average age of most of the patients who have been diagnosed with this type of leukemia is seventy-two years. It is observed that this type of leukemia affects more males than females.
4. Acute promyelocytic leukemia
Acute promyelocytic leukemia is a type of acute myeloid leukemia that is aggressive. It occurs when there is an overproduction of cells that form blood; these are known as promyelocytes in the bone marrow and blood. The formation of promyelocytes causes a shortage of different types of blood cells, such as platelets, white cells, and red cells. This type of leukemia develops in middle-aged people. However, this condition could also affect anyone, irrespective of their age.