Leukemia is caused by excessive production of abnormal or immature blood cells (mostly leukocytes). It starts with problem in DNA of cells. This results in shortage of normal blood cell and body stops working properly.
The production of cells in bone marrow consists of several steps. Cells get converted into many intermediate types before forming white, red cells and platelets.
Bone marrow initially consists of stem cells. Stem cells have three main categories including Hematopoietic, mesenchymal and endothelial stem cells. Of these three types, hematopoietic stem cells are the root of normal cells. Hematopoietics can be classified into Lymphoid and Myeloid cells. Often, the root cause of leukemia is the abnormal production of white cells. White blood cells or leukocytes have many sub types. Few of these types are produced from Lymphoid cells and other are produced from myeloid. Red blood cells and platelets are grown up form of myeloid cells. In leukemia, DNA of cells produced either from lymphoid or myeloid origin becomes damaged. This causes production of abnormal production of white blood cells which eventually crowd out normal blood cell. The cancer caused by myeloid origon is called Myelogenous Leukemia and cancer caused by lymphoid is known as Lymphocytic Leukemia. Myelogenous leukemia and lymphocytic leukemia are the two basic types of leukemia.
Leukemia is further categorized into acute and chronic levels. Including this factor, leukemia has four types including acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous Leukemia (CML).
Acute refers to the fact that this cancer has potential to become fatal in quick time. Acute lymphocytic leukemia requires immediate treatment otherwise recovery becomes impossible. It is mostly seen in childhood. Acute myelogenous and chronic cancer does not require immediate treatment. Patient suffering from chronic leukemia are kept under observation and treated only when leukemia starts to damage body tissues. Chronic type is mostly seen in aged peoples. The treatment options for all leukemia types include chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplant.