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Acute leukemia symptoms
Acute leukemia is a type of cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. It is sensitive because it spreads quickly, resulting in immature blood cells instead of mature ones. In addition, acute leukemia can affect anybody; however, it is prevalent among children. The good news is that children have a higher survival chance if it is detected early. Unfortunately, the survival chances in adults are low. In acute lymphocytic leukemia, “lymphocytic” refers to the white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are mostly affected. Equally important, it is a common type of cancer in children; however, children have higher survival chances because they respond to treatment. On the other hand, survival chances in adults are low because they do not respond to treatments. The following are some of the acute leukemia symptoms:
- Frequent infections
- Bone pain
- Lumps caused by swollen lymph nodes in and around armpits, abdomen, or groin
- Pale skin
- Weakness, fatigue, or a general decrease in energy
- Severe nose bleed
- Bleeding gums
- Breathing difficulties
Acute myeloid leukemia
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a blood and bone marrow cancer. It is the most prevalent type of acute leukemia in adults. This cancer type usually gets worse rapidly if not treated. In adults suffering from AML, the bone marrow makes a significant quantity of abnormal blood cells. Similarly, leukemia can affect red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Its signs include feeling exhausted, fever, and bleeding. The bone marrow is known for making immature cells that mature over time. A blood stem cell can become a lymphoid cell, developing into a white blood cell.
Acute myeloid leukemia stages
When you have cancer, you can find out the stage of the disease. Tumor growth and development facilitate the determination of each stage of a cancer infection. Leukemia is a blood cancer that does not cause tumors to form. As a result, its staging relies on the quantity of cancerous white blood cells circulating in the body. In most cases, acute myeloid leukemia begins in your bone marrow. Thus, it is the dominant type of leukemia. Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) snowballs in your entire bloodstream. Health care professionals do not stage AML. Therefore, they group it into subtypes determined by looking at the maturity of the leukemia cells and their origin in your body. The French-American-British (FAB) system helps to divide AML into subtypes as follows:
- M0:undifferentiated acute myeloblastic leukemia
- M1:acute myeloblastic leukemia with minimal maturation
- M2:acute myeloblastic leukemia with maturation
- M3:acute promyelocytic leukemia
- M4:acute myelomonocytic leukemia
- M4 eos: acute myelomonocytic leukemia with eosinophilia
- M5:acute monocytic leukemia
- M6:acute erythroid leukemia
- M7:acute megakaryoblastic leukemia
Types of leukemia
Leukemia continues to gain researchers’ and students’ attention since it is a new development. There are four primary types of leukemia, as discussed below.
· Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
This is the prevalent type of leukemia. It usually begins in the bone marrow and affects both children and adults. It rapidly progresses in the body as new white blood cells if not treated promptly. AML is the worst type of leukemia because it is fast developing. It is also the most severe because it is fast-developing among adults.
· Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
It is a type of leukemia that rapidly spreads, causing healthy immune cells to turn into cancerous white blood cells. ALL is rampant in children.
· Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
It is rampant in adults aged 55 and above. It alters an infected person’s immune cells; however, its progress is not rapid.
· Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Chronic myelogenous leukemia originates from an individual’s bone marrow and progresses more slowly than AML. It is also more prevalent in adults.
Simple ways to test for leukemia at home
Unfortunately, there are no simple ways to test leukemia at home. A simple test for leukemia is a blood test. A medical doctor can look at a sample of your blood to ascertain if you have abnormal levels of red, white blood cells or platelets, which may help in determining if you have leukemia. A blood test can also disclose the presence of leukemia cells; however, not all types of leukemia cause the leukemia cells to circulate in the blood. Most people come online and search how to test for leukemia at home; however, most of these strategies can only be indicative. As a result, they cannot be used to diagnose leukemia. Therefore, the recommended approach to ascertain if you have leukemia is medical procedures.
Leukemia blood count results
When you go to a hospital, the doctor will conduct a complete blood count (CBC) to determine if you have leukemia. The test helps disclose if you have leukemia cells. The abnormal levels of white blood cells and abnormally low red blood cell or platelet counts cause it. If the tests reveal that you are positive for leukemia, your doctor will conduct a biopsy of your bone marrow to know the leukemia type you are suffering from. This is critical in determining the appropriate treatment methods. However, the treatment type depends on the following:
- General health
- Type of leukemia
In most cases, you can receive multiple treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, and stem cell transplantation. Leukemia patients usually undergo chemotherapy because it targets fast-dividing cells. Acute leukemia patients have higher chances of positively responding to treatments. Contrariwise, in chronic leukemia, the cells divide more slowly.
Acute leukemia treatment stages
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) treatment depends on a person’s age, overall condition at diagnosis, and cytogenetic testing results. The standard therapy for this type of leukemia has changed slightly over the past decade; however, treatment objectives remain to cure. It can be divided into four stages, as discussed below:
· The first phase entails induction chemotherapy
Drugs like daunorubicin, vincristine, prednisone, and cyclophosphamide facilitate induction chemotherapy. Intensive supportive care is also crucial in this stage. The primary intensive supportive care utilized is red blood cells and platelet transfusion. It aims at restoring blood count to normalcy.
· The second phase is consolidation chemotherapy
This phase includes multiple cycles of intensive chemotherapy given within 6 to 9 months. In this stage, patients require regular hospitalization coupled with intensive supportive care. The same chemotherapy agents used in induction apply to this stage.
· Maintenance chemotherapy
After intensive chemotherapy, patients take oral chemotherapy pills for approximately two years. The tablets have minimal side effects. In addition, this stage requires routine blood checks as they take oral medicines.
· Central Nervous System (CNS) prophylaxis
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia can recur in the spinal fluid. Thus, to curb relapse at this point, chemotherapy should be injected directly into the fluid that bathes the spinal column. In most cases, patients receive roughly six injections of intrathecal chemotherapy to curb ALL’s recurrence.
What the stages involve
Induction chemotherapy and consolidation chemotherapy utilize intensive chemotherapy to destroy leukemia cells that proliferate ultimately. The complete therapy sessions can take at least two to three years. Approximately 90 percent of patients attain a complete remission. In addition, 25 to 40 percent survive the infection. On the other hand, about 5 percent of patients succumb to treatment-related complications during the initial therapeutic stages, while an additional 5 percent fail to achieve an initial remission.
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