Leukemia in children: symptoms and treatment
Leukemia in children — is a serious and dangerous disease, which is characterized by a violation of bone marrow hemorrhage and there is a replacement of healthy cells with immature ones. In simple words, leukemia is a cancer of the blood. As you know, cancer refers to cancer, which is almost impossible to cure.
Annually the number of children who are diagnosed with leukemia is growing. In general, the disease occurs in children aged 2 to 5 years, so during this period, it is more necessary to monitor the baby.
Leukemia is manifested not only in children, but also in adults mainly in the age of 40-50 years. The disease is difficult to treat exclusively in the early stages, and from the second stage it is almost impossible to recover from the disease. Medicine has reached significant heights, but, unfortunately, cancer drugs have not yet been invented. Leukemia is also called leukemia, a leukemia or blood cancer, but all these names have some signs of disease.
Description of the disease
With the oncological disease of leukemia, an accumulation of white immature blood cells in the bone marrow is not controlled by the body. Thus, instead of reproducing normal healthy cells, the bone marrow produces unwanted cells, which it actually replaces. Based on this, a person is diagnosed with malignant tumors that indicate abnormalities in the body, or rather, in the bone marrow.
Why does the bone marrow produce the wrong cells that we need to consider later, and first we will pay attention to the classification of leukemia in children.
Classification of the disease involves the separation of leukemia into forms, species and stages.
There are two main forms of the disease:
- Acute , which is characterized by a lack of cell development in general. In acute leukemia, white cells predominantly accumulate in the blood, and the development of red (normal) cells is completely absent. Acute leukemia in children is also characterized by a short life. So, in acute leukemia, children can live from several weeks to 2-5 months, depending on the stage.
- Chronic . A characteristic feature of this form is the prolonged replacement of normal cells with white ones. The chronic form is considered more sparing, since a person with such a diagnosis can live more than 1-2 years.
For information! The acute form can never go into the chronic, and the latter, respectively, into the first.
Acute leukemia can occur in two forms:
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children is manifested primarily from the year. Lymphoblastic leukemia is a tumor of malignant significance, the development of which occurs directly from the precursors of blood cells — lymphoblasts. Initially, the tumor is based in the red bone marrow, and with the passage of a short time extends to the lymph nodes, spleen, nervous system.
Nelimphoblastic leukemia is less common, and both boys and girls aged 2-3 years fall into the lesion zone. The non-mylobobic species is more often called myeloid. A peculiarity of this species is that a tumor of the myeloid bloody process is formed. From the moment of formation, white blood cells proliferate rapidly. When these cells reach the bone marrow cavity, then they suppress the growth of normal cells.
Well, actually about the stages of the disease themselves, which are in medicine three:
- Stage # 1 . It is named as an acute phase of a disease in children.
- Stage # 2 . Remission of a complete or incomplete sample.
- Stage # 3 . It is also called the lethal stage, since mainly the result of the disease is death.
We’ll take a more detailed look at the symptomatology section, and now we’ll pay attention to the reasons that cause such a terrible and dangerous disease in children.
Even up to now, the reasons that can provoke the formation of a disease have not been fully explored, therefore, there are only theoretical and practical data on leukemia. These factors include:
- Radiation exposure . In the process of cell division, radioactive radiation leads to mutations of the latter. Radiation is based on the anthropogenic impact of the human factor. Thus, human radioactive creations have led to terrible consequences. This — and the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and a nuclear weapon test, and an accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. All these factors determine the active development of leukemia in children. Precisely in the areas close to radioactive places, the disease of blood cancer occurs more often in children.
- Virus infection . Viruses infect cells, thereby changing the structure of DNA. The defeat of the bone marrow causes a violation of the process of dividing the chromosomes during the period of cell multiplication. This process leads to the fact that the child has a tumor cell growth.
- Ecology . Again, the person himself has a negative impact on the environment. People blame ecology for diseases, more precisely, its deterioration, and this is because of human intervention: emissions into rivers, lakes, seas, atmosphere, etc. All emissions are very dangerous, in the process, the body accumulates harmful substances that Give rise to the formation of tumors.
- Insolation or solar radiation . Against the background of pollution and flight into space, the shell of the planet Earth has a lot of ozone holes. It is because of these holes that solar radiation becomes more harmful every year. Everybody knows about this problem, but, alas, it is not subject to decision.
- Bad habits . And, of course, the last weighty reason that can cause blood cancer in children is the harmful habits of their parents. It is known that tobacco smoke for an adult person does not bring any benefit, but for a child it is completely dangerous. It is difficult to exclude the probability of developing a malignant tumor in a child whose mother can not refrain from smoking. It is very dangerous for nursing mothers to smoke, as tobacco smoke and harmful substances enter the breast milk that the baby feeds on. By the year, the child does not exclude the development of health defects, including leukemia. Also, if a child inhales cigarette smoke that comes from parents or close family members, the harmful particles are not filtered and enter the body and blood.
All of the above causes of leukemia are the underlying factors in the formation of malignant tumors in children. Why children? Because the children’s organism is more susceptible and less protected from the influence of negative factors.
What is leukemia in children is now known, then it is necessary to understand how this disease manifests itself and especially what are the first signs of anemia. After all, the possibility of curing a small patient depends on them.
Symptoms of the disease are based on the characteristics of leukemia. So, with the defeat of the body continues active multiplication of cells, only already affected. These cells have even an accelerated rate of reproduction, so the disease also occurs in an acute form.
Symptoms of children with leukemia are manifested in the following signs:
- First of all, the hemoglobin decreases. The blood test will help to track this phenomenon. Reduced hemoglobin, in turn, provokes the appearance of anemia: the child is noted for rapid fatigue, lethargy, painful sensations in the muscles. For a one-year-old child, the symptoms manifest themselves as a backwardness in development. In addition, there may also be a drying out of the skin, the hair becomes brittle and begins to fall out more often.
- Reduction in the number of platelets, which will also show a blood test during the diagnosis. Thus, a decrease in platelets leads to the fact that the child suffers from frequent bleeding from the nose or gums. With minor cuts of the skin, a pattern of active hemorrhage will be observed. This indicates a violation of the composition of platelets in the blood.
- Leukocytes are responsible for the immune system. An increase in the number of leukocytes causes a deterioration in the functioning of immunity. In this case, the child becomes vulnerable to many viral and fungal infections. Perhaps the development of candidal stomatitis, urethritis or vulvovaginitis
These signs indicate a bone marrow injury, but in addition there are other symptoms indicative of the development of leukemia.
- Painfulness of bones . During the development of the disease, the tumor grows throughout the body and affects even bone tissue. Tumor causative agent, getting into the bone, leads to its expansion, and this sometimes causes infernal pain. There is another type of lesion of bone tissue — this is a violation of calcification. As a result, the reverse process is observed — thinning of bone tissues, while the bones become fragile and brittle.
- Metastases appear . Metastases are the active spread of the pathogen throughout the body. So, blast cells are produced in significant amounts, which leads to their active distribution through the body with the help of blood. These cells-pathogens of tumor formations settle in different places, thus causing active leukemia damage to the body. If the cells settle in the brain, then — this is the most dangerous, since it is not possible to extract them already. If the metastases are in the brain, then the child can often get a headache, quickly deteriorate eyesight, there is an involuntary loss of consciousness. Metastases can also enter other, not less important organs, causing a sensation of pain.
- Change in lymph nodes . Often there is an increase in lymph nodes, which is based on the settling of blast cells in this system. When you feel the lymph nodes, their soreness is felt. Also in children with leukemia, the liver and spleen often increase.
Symptoms of early development
It is rare to diagnose a disease in the early stages due to mild symptoms. Few people think of parents that the usual cold symptoms in a child hide a dangerous disease.
The first signs of the disease resemble a cold, along with which there is a rash on the body in the form of red spots. At the same time on the first day there is an increase in the liver and spleen. Only having found out these signs, it is necessary to address immediately to the doctor for the help. It is better to exclude the disease at an early stage than to try to conduct a senseless fight with a dangerous disease.
Symptoms by stages
In addition to all the above symptoms, it is also worth noting the general signs of malaise, which include:
- frequent headaches and dizziness;
- loss of appetite, which leads to rapid weight loss
- red manifestations in the body, indicating the appearance of subcutaneous hemorrhage
It is known that such a dangerous disease as leukemia occurs in three stages, for which the following symptoms are inherent:
- Initial stage . Is manifested in the form of a slight deterioration in the health of the child. Parents can notice a slight lethargy and inactivity. There are complaints of pain in the muscles of the hands and feet. There are chronic, bacterial and viral diseases.
- Deployed stage . At this stage, the symptoms are much more vivid. A rash begins to appear on the skin, fatigue and reluctance to play. The child becomes closed and exhausted. Symptoms of the stage indicate that the child needs to be examined in order to exclude serious diseases from him. But often the diagnosis of a doctor at this stage is disappointing, so immediate treatment is required.
- Terminal Phase . This stage is final and patients with a diagnosis of leukemia of the third stage are not subject to treatment. Already in the third stage, the child has almost no hair left on his head, he becomes self-contained, complains of manifestations of pain along the body. At this time, metastases are spreading throughout the body.
To prevent the development of the third stage, it is important at the first suspicions to visit a doctor who will conduct the diagnosis. What it consists of, consider in more detail.
To accurately establish a diagnosis in a child, the doctor will need the following information:
- A general blood test . It is the blood test that allows you to get more than a complete picture of the disease. If the analysis shows an increased norm of leukocytes, and the level of platelets, hemoglobin and erythrocytes is lowered, this gives rise to suspicions of leukemia.
- Another additional analysis is ultrasound . And this analysis is carried out on all internal organs, which allows you to get a picture of their condition.
- Puncture of red bone marrow . This analysis is the most painful, therefore, it is carried out under anesthesia. The essence of the method consists in puncturing the sternum with a special needle and further carrying out the bone marrow sampling.
- X-ray . Chest analysis is performed on which lymph node enlargement is detected.
- Biochemical blood test . Displays a picture of the damage of certain organs.
- Computed tomography provides a complete picture of the stage of the disease.
After the diagnosis is made, the treatment should be started immediately.
Treatment is carried out strictly in a hospital under the constant supervision of medical staff. To exclude the possibility of bacterial infection, the patient is transferred to a separate ward.
The main agent for the treatment of leukemia is polychemotherapy, which is aimed at the eradication of the clone. The stages of treatment include:
- Achievement of remission.
- Strengthen remission.
Chemotherapy is supplemented by immunotherapy, which includes:
- BCG vaccination
- vaccine from OSA;
- the introduction of leukemia cells.
Treatment of leukemia in children also includes symptomatic effects:
- Hemostatic therapy
- Transfusions of platelets and erythrocytes
- Use of antibiotics against infectious agents
Thus, it is important to remember that the disease is better to prevent (although this is not easy), than to fight it later. It is necessary to monitor the health of your child and visit a doctor every month or whenever possible every six months.