Saturday, March 7, 2009

Francis M and A Closer Look at Leukemia

Francis Magalona and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia with Mixed Lineage

Another very talented and an asset to the Philippine music industry passed away, Francis Magalona or Francis M. Often hailed as “the Pinoy King of Rap” and “Master Rapper”. Nakaka-lungkot at nakakapang-lumo.

His battle with leukemia kept me digging and asking information on how this may/could affect us all. Although I am a medical technologist and we have a subject called hematology or haematology. This includes the study of blood diseases. I need to refresh myself again with the disease and its intricate details.

Ano ba ang leukemia? Leukemia is a form of cancer na yung ating katawan ay nag pro-produce ng napaka-raming white blood cells. Ano ba ang ginagawa ng white blood cells sa ating katawan? Blood contains three types of cells: red blood cells, white blood cells (soldiers ng ating katawan), and platelets. Each type of cell has a special function in the body. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. White blood cells fight invading organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Platelets are involved in the process of blood clotting. So pag dumami ang ating white blood cells ibig sabihin meron tayong infection sa katawan na kailangan sugpuin nitong mga soldiers na ito. Pero kung sumobra naman ang dami ng white blood cells at nakaka disrupt sa pag produce ng red blood cells- dito na nagkakaroon ng imbalance.
Napaka raming type ng leukemia. They are divided into two general types: acute and chronic. An acute condition comes on fairly quickly. A chronic disorder develops more slowly over time. Yung kay Francis M ay Myelogenous Leukemia with Mixed Lineage. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a cancer of the myeloid line of the white blood cells, characterized by the rapid proliferation (o pagdami) ng abnormal cells which accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal red blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age.

Generally, leukemia is caused by the overproduction of white blood cells. (Ito ay may dalawang epekto sa ating katawan) This has two effects on the body. First, the white blood cells may not mature properly as they develop. They may lack the ability to kill foreign bodies in the bloodstream. This defect seriously damages the immune system and the body loses its ability to fight off infections.
Second, so many white blood cells may form that they pack the bone marrow until there is not enough room for red blood cells and platelets to develop. Without red blood cells, the body's cells do not get enough oxygen, and the condition known as anemia (ito yung low ang count ng red blood cell sa katawan natin) develops.

Ang leukemia ay may generalized na mga sintomas, ito ay ang fatigue (madaling mapagod), shortness of breath (hirap sa pag hinga), easy bruising (madaling magka-pasa) and bleeding (pagdurugo), and increased risk of infection. May mga risk factors for AML pero yung specific cause of AML remains unclear. As an acute leukemia, AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.

No one knows what causes leukemia. Researchers have strong suspicions about four possible causes, however. They are radiation, chemicals, viruses, and genetic factors.

Radiation. The term "radiation" refers to various forms of energy, such as X rays and ultraviolet (UV) light found in sunlight. Radiation can tear chemicals apart, thus damaging or destroying cells. Some researchers believe that exposure to radiation can cause some forms of leukemia.

Chemicals. Some types of chemicals are known to be carcinogens. A carcinogen is anything that can cause cancer. Chemicals can cause cancer by damaging cells and the substances within them.

Viruses. Some researchers believe that some types of leukemia are viral infections. A virus is a very small organism that can cause a disease. The link between viruses and leukemia is strong in some cases, but it has not been proven.

Genetics. Leukemia tends to occur in some families more commonly than in others. This suggests that at least some forms of leukemia may be hereditary.

The symptoms of leukemia are generally vague. A patient may experience all or some of the following symptoms:
Weakness or chronic fatigue (madaling mapagod)
Fever of unknown origin (walang dahilan na mga lagnat)
Unexplained weight loss (hindi naman nag di-diet pero bigla na lang namamayat)
Frequent bacterial or viral infections
Headaches (pagsakit ng ulo)
Skin rash
Bone pain with no known cause (Masakit ang buto-buto na walang dahilan)
Easy bruising (madaling magkapasa)
Bleeding from gums (pyorrhea) and nose (epistaxis)
Blood in urine (hematuria) or stools (melena or hematochezia)
Enlarged lymph nodes and/or spleen
Fullness in the stomach (feeling busog)

Pag may combination ang isang tao ng ganitong mga sintomas ang first step is to see a doctor. The doctor must then try to find the cause of these symptoms. The doctor first performs tests to rule out other medical conditions. The first specific test for leukemia is likely to be a blood test. A blood test shows the relative amounts of red and white blood cells. An unusually large number of white blood cells might suggest the possibility of leukemia. The first clue to a diagnosis of AML or any type of leukemia is typically an abnormal result on a CBC or complete blood count. While an excess of abnormal white blood cells (leukocytosis ang tawag dito) is a common finding, and leukemic blasts are sometimes seen, AML can also present with isolated decreases in plateslets and red blood cells, or even with a low white blood cell count (leukopenia naman ang tawag dito).
Next pag nakitang may abnormality sa blood count results, mag re request ang doctor ng presumptive diagnosis via examination of the peripheral blood smear when there are circulating leukemic blasts. Ang presumptive diagnosis as the word implies ay presuming lamang hindi pa talaga 100% sure. So to be sure, a definitive or specific diagnosis usually requires an adequate bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. A bone marrow biopsy is conducted with a long, thin needle that is inserted into the marrow of a bone. A bone in the hip or chest is usually chosen for this procedure.

If there is still doubt, an additional test may be performed. This test is a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). In a lumbar puncture, a thin needle is inserted into the space between vertebrae in the patient's spine. A sample of cerebrospinal fluid is withdrawn. Cerebrospinal fluid is a liquid that surrounds the tissues in the brain and spine. The presence of abnormal blood cells indicates that the patient has leukemia.

Papano ba ito ma cu-cure, may cure nga ba? at anong mga options ng isang taong merong leukemia? Treatment of leukemia takes place in two steps. The goal of the first step is to bring the disease into remission. Remission means two things. First, no symptoms of the disease remain. Ibig sabihin walang nararamdamang sintomas ang pasyente. Second, dapat wala ng makitang white blood cells sa bone marrow.
Two forms of treatment are used in this first step: chemotherapy and radiation.
Chemotherapy involves the use of certain chemicals that can kill cancer cells. These chemicals may be given orally (by mouth) or intravenously (through a vein in the arm). Some people ask what would happen if they did not have the treatment. Treatment can be given for different reasons and the potential benefits will vary depending upon the individual situation.The decision about whether to have chemotherapy treatment can be a difficult one and the patient may need to discuss it in detail with your doctor. One of the biggest drawbacks to chemotherapy is that it can also affect healthy cells. So hindi lang cancer cells ang pinapatay niya kung hindi pati na rin ang healthy cells. Temporary side effects include: hair loss, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, bleeding, susceptibility to infection, loss of appetite, changes in the way food tastes, et marami pang iba.

Many alternative treatments are available that may prove helpful in combating the side effects of traditional cancer therapies. These alternatives, however, should not replace prescribed cancer treatments; rather, they are suggested to work in conjunction with conventional treatment.

Body work therapy such as acupuncture (Chinese therapy involving the use of fine needles), acupressure (Chinese therapy that involves applying pressure to certain points in the body), reflexology, and massage may help calm the patient and reduce stress. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may relieve nausea and discomfort. An exercise program, designed in consultation with a physician, may help promote physical and mental strength. A well-balanced diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and low in fats, sugar, and alcohol is suggested for overall well-being.

The prognosis (this term denotes the doctor’s prediction on how a patient will progress, and whether there is a chance of recovery) for various forms of leukemia varies widely. Three important factors are the patient's age and general health, and the time since diagnosis. That is, younger patients who are otherwise in good health have the best chance for survival if their leukemia is diagnosed early.

Prognosis also varies depending on the form of leukemia. In general, patients with chronic forms of the disease tend to live longer than those with acute forms. The average survival rate for patients with chronic leukemia is about nine years. By contrast, only about half of all patients with acute myelogenous leukemia survive five years. For acute lymphocytic leukemia, the survival rate is even less.

Medical progress has greatly improved the prognosis for leukemia over the past thirty years. Surgeons are becoming much more proficient at bone marrow transplantations. As a result, more and more patients face the possibility not only of remission but also a cure.

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is more common in men than in women. The difference is even more apparent in older patients. Some have proposed that the increased prevalence of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in men may be related to occupational exposures.

For patients with relapsed AML, the only proven potentially curative therapy is a stem cell transplant, if one has not already been performed.

Until the cause or causes of leukemia are found, there is no way to prevent the disease. Since wala nga talagang pinpointed na cause ng leukemia. It is better if we all take better care of ourselves para mas ma-less yung probability natin to acquire this disease. Lifestyle check is always a good way to start.

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