My thoughts run free here...

Thursday, May 11, 2006



I was thinking about the poor children in the Children's Cancer Association in Singapore. I bought a bouquet of dozen paper-made roses for $10. A kind of donation i made for them. Most of them, i presume, suffer from leukemia, a kind of blood cancer. Let's look at it.

Leukemia is a form of cancer that begins in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow - the soft, inner part of the bones. Leukemia - which literally means "white blood" in Greek - occurs when there is an excess of abnormal white blood cells in the blood. Known as leukocytes, these cells are so plentiful in some individuals that the blood actually has a whitish tinge.

Under normal circumstances, the blood-forming, or hematopoietic, cells of the bone marrow make leukocytes to defend the body against infectious organisms such as viruses and bacteria. But if some leukocytes are damaged and remain in an immature form, they become poor infection fighters that multiply excessively and do not die off as they should.

The leukemic cells accumulate and lessen the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells (eythrocytes), blood-clotting cells (platelets), and normal leukocytes. If untreated, the surplus leukemic cells overwhelm the bone marrow, enter the bloodstream, and eventually invade other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). In this way, the behavior of leukemia is different than that of other cancers, which usually begin in major organs and ultimately spread to the bone marrow.

There are more than a dozen varieties of leukemia, but the following four types are the most common:
acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL),
acute myelogenous leukemia (AML),
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and
chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Acute leukemias usually develop suddenly, whereas some chronic varieties may exist for years before they are diagnosed.

However, many people think that leukemia is a childhood disease. Yet, it strikes 10 times as many adults as children.

This high-power microscopic view of a blood smear from a person with classical CML shows predominantly normal-appearing cells with intermediate maturity.

All the cells in this field are hairy cells. The cell membranes appear irregular and serrated. The cytoplasm stains light blue (black arrows). The nuclei tend to be irregular (red arrows).

I find it interesting. Anyhow, that's all for now. Tata!!


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