What Is Leukemia? Essay

2126 words - 9 pages

Leukemia is a form of cancer that starts in the stem cells of the bone marrow that make blood cells. A bone marrow is the material that fills the center of most bones which is where blood cells are made. Leukemia is basically a blood cancer where the cells do not form properly. Leukemia is found in blood cells and since blood cells do not have chromosomes or DNA then they cannot divide or reproduce like somatic cells do. Blood cells form in the bone marrow and when too many blood cells form in the human body then Leukemia cancer is developed. There are three different types of blood cells that increase out of control and are produced in the bone marrow which are White blood cells [leukocytes], Red blood cells [erythrocytes] and Platelets. White blood cells are part of the immune system and help fight off infections. They too aid in the curing of sores, wounds and cuts. Red blood cells hold haemoglobin which carries oxygen and takes out carbon dioxide to and from the cells throughout different organs of the body. Platelets help poke holes in the blood vessels and form clots just as blood vessels are corrupted or damaged (What is Leukemia? par. 4 & 5).
When these cells in the bone marrow divide uncontrollably, they form more white blood cells than required and thus, lead to leukemia cancer. Leukemia is sometimes developed by genetic predisposition where studies researching family history look at twins who have indicated that some people have a higher risk of developing leukemia because of a single gene or multiple genes. (Silverstein 29)
Furthermore, Down syndrome is a genetic cause of Leukemia cancer. Normally, each human cell contains 23 pairs of different chromosomes. Each chromosome carries genes, which are needed for proper development and maintenance of our bodies. An individual inherits 23 chromosomes from the mother through the egg cell and 23 chromosomes from the father through the sperm cell. In Down syndrome, a person most often inherits two copies of chromosome 21 from the mother and one chromosome 21 from the father for a total of three chromosomes 21. If a baby inherits the chromosome with the extra genes from chromosome 21, then the child will have Down syndrome. About 2% to 4% of people with Down syndrome inherit additional genes from chromosome 21, but not in every cell of the body. These individuals may, for example, have inherited extra genes from chromosome 21 in their bone marrow causing an abnormal increase rate of blood cell production which is the cause of Leukemia Cancer. (Schainman 36)
Leukemia is not only genetically inherited but there are also environmental factors that lead to the development of Leukemia. Some factors are smoking and hair dye because they are manmade. First of all, smoking is a big contributor to Leukemia development because of the chemicals used in cigarettes that cause leukemia. Benzene and other chemicals are carcinogens which is any cancer-causing basis. When any human is exposed to Benzene...

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