Leukemia is a kind of cancer that affects the body’s leukocyte (WBCs).
Typically, WBCs help combat infection and safeguard the body against disease. However in leukemia, WBCs turn cancerous and increase when they shouldn’t, leading to a lot of unusual WBCs. These cells then disrupt the body’s ability to function normally.
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a rare youth cancer that generally happens in children younger than 2 years old. In JMML, too many myelocytes and monocytes (two types of WBCs) are produced from immature blood stem cells called blasts. These myelocytes, monocytes, and blasts overwhelm the typical cells in the bone marrow and other organs, triggering the symptoms of JMML.
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, or JMML, is a cancer of the blood. It takes place when too many immature white blood cells, called “myelocytes” and “monocytes,” are made in the bone marrow. They eventually crowd out the healthy, typical cells that belong in the bone marrow.
The reason for JMML is unknown, but physicians do know that certain medical conditions– such as neurofibromatosis type 1 and Noonan syndrome– can make a child most likely to establish it.
Symptoms and signs
JMML has the tendency to advance slowly, so in the beginning a child might have couple of if any symptoms. In truth, symptoms can take months and even years to develop.
The symptoms of all types of leukemia are generally the very same and include:
- fatigue (exhaustion) and weakness
- swollen lymph nodes
- recurrent infections (such as bronchitis or tonsillitis)
- easy bruising
- bone and joint pain
- abdominal pain (caused by unusual blood cells developing in organs like the kidneys, liver, and spleen)
- swelling of the spleen and abdominal area
A doctor who suspects a child has leukemia might purchase tests that consist of:
- Blood tests. Tests such as a complete blood count, liver and kidney function panels, and blood chemistries can provide crucial information about the number of normal blood cells in the body and how well the organs are functioning. The blood cells are seen under a microscope to check for abnormal shapes or sizes.
- Bone marrow goal. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a needle into a big bone, typically the hip, and gets rid of a small amount of bone marrow to analyze it for abnormal cells.
- Imaging studies. These might include an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound to check for an enlarged spleen or liver, as well as to dismiss other possible causes of a child’s symptoms.
- Back puncture. Likewise called a spinal tap, this procedure uses a hollow needle to get rid of a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid surrounding the brain and spine, for evaluation in a lab.
- Circulation cytometry tests. Utilizing markers on leukemia cells collected from the blood, bone marrow, and/or CSF, physicians can determine the type of leukemia a child has. This is necessary due to the fact that treatments might vary inning accordance with the type of leukemia.
- Chromosomal tests. Examining DNA from the blood or bone marrow is another manner in which physicians can find out which type of leukemia a child has.
- Tissue typing or HLA (human leukocyte antigen) typing. If a child requires a stem cell transplant (likewise called a bone marrow transplant), this test assists medical professionals discover an appropriate stem cell donor. It works by comparing the proteins on the surface of a child’s blood cells with the proteins on a prospective donor’s cells. The more HLA (human leukocyte antigen) markers a child and donor share, the higher the opportunity that a transplant will achieve success.
Chemotherapy (the use of drugs to eliminate cancer cells) may be used to temporarily manage JMML. However, reliable treatment of JMML normally needs a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant.
This procedure includes destroying cancer cells and regular bone marrow and body immune system cells with high-dose chemotherapy then reintroducing healthy donor stem cells into the body. The brand-new stem cells can restore a healthy blood supply and immune system.
Even though these treatments are the treatment of choice for kids with JMML, the disease stays hard to cure. Scientists are looking into the use of alternative treatments, like molecular-targeted therapies (medicines that slow the growth of cancer cells by blocking specific particles or proteins that help cancer cells grow) and immunotherapies (medications that mark cancer cells so that the body’s immune system can discover the cells and remove them from the body).
Being informed that your child has cancer can be extremely frightening, and the stress of dealing with the disease can be overwhelming for any family.
Although you may feel like it at times, you’re not alone. To find support for you or your child, speak to your doctor or a medical facility social worker. Lots of resources can help you survive this difficult time.