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Nursing - Leukemia - Research Paper Example

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Nursing - Leukemia

Introduction The word leukemia is derived from the Greek words leukos and aima, which stand for ‘white blood.’ Leukemia is a form of blood and bone marrow cancer and it points to an abnormal production and multiplication of white blood cells (leukocytes) in a person’s body. Blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and they divide to form new body cells according to the requirements of the body (there is the dying of old cells and new cells have to replace them). In a person suffering from leukemia, the DNA of immature white blood cells somehow becomes damaged and they grow and divide chaotically. The old cells do not die and there is rapid division of body cells – more and more cells are produced in the body taking up more and more space and cancer problem arises. Simply put, the bad cells in the blood crowd out the good cells (Nordqvist, 2009). History of Leukemia Ancient Greeks discovered leukemia way back in the 4th or 5th century BC. However, John Hughes Benett officially diagnosed it in Edinburgh in the year 1845. In the 19th century, some physicians from Europe further realized that a number of of their patients were suffering from peculiarly high white blood cells levels. They termed this condition 'weisses blut', meaning “white blood”. In the year 1913, leukemia was categorized into four types namely acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia (Erythroleukemia) and chronic myelogenous leukemia. Further, in the year 1970, it was proven that there was cure for leukemia, and by 1980s and 1990s, roughly 70% of patients suffering from leukemia had been cured. This brought high hopes to all patients suffering from leukemia globally. For ages, people have been fighting with cancer, the only difference being that they were not aware of the details of what they were battling (Johnson, 2011). Treatment options Just like the information concerning leukemia has changed with time, the treatment options available for the patients have also changed. The earliest treatment option administered to leukemia patients was arsenic. Generally known in the West as a poison, arsenic has been used to treat leukemia and such conditions as psoriasis and syphilis in traditional Chinese medicine for almost two thousand years. It has been proven to have a considerable anti-cancer effect for leukemia although the mechanism for this effect has remained unknown till recently when scientists in China found out that it targets proteins which contribute to cancer cells’ growth (Edwards, 2010). Healthandnutritiontips.net (2011) records that arsenic is still used in the treatment of some types of leukemia and that it has proved very successful. In the early 20th century, radiation therapy replaced arsenic (Johnson, 2011). Scientists found out that exposure to radiation decreases the cancerous tumors on patients in size. Radiation is still a very common and a very effective treatment option for leukemia, as well as other cancer types. However, it has several side effects that a patient needs to take into consideration (Healthandnutritiontips.net, 2011). Other modern/recent treatment options for leukemia include biological therapy or immunotherapy, chemotherapy surgery and bone marrow transplants. Biological therapy/immunotherapy has to do with treatment ...Show more

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Leukemia Name: University: Abstract In the United States of America, roughly 1,500 individuals die of cancer every day. Globally, over eight million new cases are diagnosed annually. In developed countries like the US, one out of three people will suffer from cancer in his/her lifetime…
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