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Leukemia: Signs to Look Out For

September is known as Blood Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness on the different types of blood cancers in the world, though it mainly concentrates on one that is quite recurring: Leukemia.

Now, what exactly is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that can damage your white blood cells. White blood cells work as infection fighters, helping combat any kind of disease; you can’t possibly live without them. The damaging of these cells begins when the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells that don’t operate correctly.

According to MedicineNet, there are around 62,000 new cases of leukemia each year in the U.S. and about 24,500 deaths due to leukemia. Leukemia makes up about 3.7% of all new cancer cases.

The exact cause of this type of cancer is still unknown, but there are different treatments for it. There are different types of leukemia, but every single one can produce the same kind of signs to determine if you have leukemia or not.


Here are five of those signs:


1. Persistent fatigue or weakness

This picture serves as the perfect example of what could happen if you become too fatigued, which could lead to needing help with your breathing and having a weaker body.


2. Easy bleeding or bruising

Having recurrent nosebleeds can also mean that you might have leukemia. Apart from the nosebleeds, there is also a term known as petechiae, where tiny red spots start to appear on your skin.  


3. Weight Loss (Loss of Appetite)

Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars is a perfect example of weight loss looking at how skinny she is. Weight loss can also be due to the loss of appetite that not only leukemia patients experience, but also patients with other types of cancer.


4. Pain in the bones or joints

Since the formation of abnormal white blood cells begins to appear in the bone marrow, experiencing pain in the bones is a clear sign of knowing if you have this type of cancer.


5. Fevers from infections

High fevers or chills will appear due to the lack of good white blood cells in your system. The fevers might also be warning you of swollen lymph nodes, which are an important part of the immune system.


These and various other symptoms can be the cause of damaged white blood cells. Thus, you should contact your doctor right away if you ever feel or see any of these signs appearing. If you want to help by donating to cancer research, you can make purchases on the Choose Hope website, where all the money goes to the research. If you would like to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click on the link! You can help save the life of a patient with your donation. If you have any medical concerns, you can always ask a professional doctor online anonymously from the comfort of your home through Just Health Experts.


Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Aimar B. Galarza is an undergraduate English Literature student in the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus aspiring to become a future editor. She has a passion for anything to do with books, film, writing, music, and acting. She enjoys playing the piano and guitar and has also participated in various musicals as a dancer, singer, and actress, one of them being "Homeroom the Musical" which was presented in Ponce, Puerto Rico and later on presented in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Last but not least, she's also a voice actress on YouTube (AimyAngel) who's collaborated in fan dubs, audiobooks, and animated episodes.
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