Leukemia Types and SubTypes

I keep finding some references that suggest Leukemias are a type of sarcoma. I had come across that same information a few years ago when I was researching how many types of sarcoma there are. (about fifty some) But, I didn't give it much consideration. Sarcomas are one of the rare cancers. Only about one percent of all adult cancers diagnosed are sarcomas.

Whether all Leukemias are forms of sarcoma, I am unable to determine. And that brings up a point I wish to make. In my ignorance, I always thought that Leukemia was one disease. I was mistaken. There are different types of Leukemia.

According to wikipedia are a "total of four main categories. Within each of these four main categories, there are typically several subcategories. Finally, some rarer types are usually considered to be outside of this classification scheme."

Acute lymphoblastic
Chronic lymphocytic
Acute myelogenous
Chronic myelogenous
Hairy cell
T-cell prolymphocytic
Juvenile myelomonocytic
Large granular lymphocytic
Adult T-cell leukemia

I counted nine subtypes.

The type I have, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) has a five year survival rate of 90%. Pretty good odds. Huh? If I last 5 years, I will be 71. I figure by that time, there will be new drugs to treat CML. Hopefully, they will be more effective with less side effects. Best yet would be a cure! Perhaps if that's the case my longevity genes will carry me into my 90's or hundred's as have been the case with my ancestors and other close kin.

Another fallacy I once believed about Leukemia (in general) was that it was a cancer of red blood cells that caused fatal anemia. I have learned that is not the crux of it.

The reason CML has myelogenous in the name is become a source of the blood disturbance that is part of the diagnoses begins with the blood cells called myelocytes, which are very immature cells produced in the bone marrow. They are not supposed to be in the blood stream. Once they get into the blood stream they crowd out the healthy blood cells and that's the problem.

I find it very difficult to explain at this time, because I am still learning. I wish I had paid more attention in college when I took pre-med courses. (I never completed my dream to work in the field of radiology as I then had recurrences of Chondrosarcoma to deal with!)


Photo art by me, Elizabeth Munroz

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