Acute leukemia seems to be have been added to the lexicon of many Nigerians with the sad news of Super Eagles and Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme diagnosed with the disease. According to his club side, the goalkeeper’s blood sample had been returned positive after the blood test conducted for him and his team mates before they jet out for their pre-season tour. He is expected to start chemotherapy immediately.
Though Carl is not the first established player to be down with the disease as former Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed in 2013, many lovers of football are wondering how deadly the disease?.
To clear your curiosity, here are some essential things you need to know about acute leukemia.
Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated and it is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.
It usually begins in cells that would turn into white blood cells. Sometimes, though, AML can start in other types of blood-forming cells. Although there’s no cure, there are treatments that can make a big difference.
Possible risk factors for AML include the following:Being male.
- Smoking, especially after age 60.
- Having had treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the past.
- Having had treatment for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in the past.
- Being exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb or to the chemical benzene.
- Having a history of a blood disorder such as myelodysplastic syndrome.
The early signs and symptoms of AML may be like those caused by the flu or other common diseases. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Shortness of breath.
- Easy bruising or bleeding.
- Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding).
- Weakness or feeling tired.
- Weight loss or loss of appetite.
Acute luekemia is treatable and often curable with chemotherapy with or without a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with AML are an estimate.
Without treatment, AML can quickly be life-threatening. Because it’s “acute,” this type of leukemia can spread quickly to the blood and to other parts of the body, such as the:
- Lymph nodes
- Brain and spinal cord