Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells. It is the most common cancer in children and young adults. It is a severe but treatable form of leukemia that primarily affects children but can also affect adults.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia can affect either mature or immature white blood cells, causing an abnormal increase in immature white blood cells. These cells cannot properly function, leading to anemia, infection, and easy bleeding.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is often treated with chemotherapy alone or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant.
About 85-90% of those diagnosed with ALL go into remission, meaning their symptoms have significantly improved, and their lab tests show that their disease is in remission.
While most children are successfully treated for ALL, about 15-20% of patients will experience a relapse at some point during or after their treatment.
In some cases, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is caused by a genetic disorder, such as Down syndrome or neurofibromatosis.
The prognosis for Acute lymphoblastic leukemia largely depends on the age of diagnosis, the stage of the disease, and response to treatment.
Most ALL symptoms result from the buildup of immature white blood cells, which can cause anemia, infections, easy bleeding, and increased size of specific organs.
Following treatment, patients must be monitored regularly to ensure their disease does not return.
In some cases, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia may be caused by exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene.
Clinical trials are constantly being done to develop new treatment options for those with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia that has not responded to other treatments.