ABC Medical Center > Leukemia

What is Leukemia?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to cancer that arises in the bone marrow blood cells, mainly affecting white blood cells, which are responsible for defending the body against infections, but can also occur in other blood cells.

The cause of leukemia is not yet known, but it appears when there is an alteration in the bone marrow cells’ DNA. The chances of suffering from it increase with age, with family history being an important potential risk, as well as having received radiation therapy or being exposed to toxic chemicals.

Similarly, people with a weak immune system are more likely to develop leukemia, due to the body’s inability to defend itself against abnormal cells.

There are various types of leukemia classified according to their development speed and the affected cell, but the most common are lymphocytic and myelogenous, both divide into:

  • Acute: it is high risk and has intense symptoms. It usually affects children, adolescents, and young people, caused by an extreme overproduction of immature blood cells called blasts, which prevent the generation of mature cells. It can cause death if not diagnosed and treated early.
  • Chronic: there is an overproduction of mature blood cells; it affects adults between 42 and 72 years old. Its development is slower and the symptoms take time to worsen.

Signs and symptoms Leukemia

Both types of leukemia have similar symptoms, such as:

  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • High fever and excessive night sweats.
  • Bleeding.
  • Bruises or petechiae.
  • Weight loss.

Diagnosis and treatment Leukemia

To detect it, your doctor, in addition to performing a physical examination and checking your medical history, will request blood tests, genetic tests, and bone marrow tests, the latter by bone marrow aspiration from the hip. Additional tests may also be needed to find out if the cancer has spread to other areas of your body.

Treatment and how long it lasts will depend on the type of leukemia and how advanced it is, as well as your age and physical condition, but it usually includes:

  • Radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Hematopoietic cell transplant.
  • Biological therapy.

Each case is different and the combination of therapies varies, so your doctor will determine the optimal treatment plan for you, but it usually lasts more than a year and in complicated situations, up to two years.

The short-term goal is the remission of the disease and to achieve a total cure in the long term.

Collateral damage:

  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Skin dryness.
  • Hair loss.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Recurring infections.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Emotional instability.

Since its inauguration in 2009, our Cancer Center offers chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments at the level of the best medical centers in the world through a comprehensive care model for cancer patients.

In chemotherapy, we include the most innovative therapies in comfortable facilities specially designed for your peace of mind and comfort.

In radiation therapy procedures, we provide you with evidence-based treatment plans discussed together with experts from Houston Methodist Hospital, using state-of-the-art technological equipment in state-of-the-art facilities.


  • cancer.org
  • cancer.net
  • cancer.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • medigraphic.com
  • Quintero-Sierra Y, Mustelier-Celza GL, Hernández-Padrón C, et al. Leucemia mielomonocítica crónica. Rev Cubana Hematol Inmunol Hemoter. 2014;30(4).
  • Correa-González LC, Mandeville PB, Manrique-Dueñas J, et al. Valor pronóstico del inmunofenotipo en la respuesta temprana de la leucemia aguda linfoblástica pre-B en niños. Gac Med Mex. 2005;141(6):477-482.
  • Querol BN, Chávez IMI, Leblanch FCC, et al. Caracterización clinicoepidemiológica y supervivencia de pacientes menores de 19 años con leucemia. MediSan. 2021;25(01):26-40.
  • Arellano AG, Palomares AP, Aguirre TJ, et al. Leucemia mielomonocítica crónica con infiltración cutánea. Acta Med. 2020;18(3):296-301.

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