What Is Leukemia?


Leukemia: Information, Research and Support

Leukemia is the most common blood cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 29,000 adults and 2,000 children are diagnosed with the disease each year. If you or someone you love is affected by leukemia, you'll want answers. Use the Leukemia Web Guide to find reliable information.

What Is Leukemia?

The best sources on the Web for learning about what leukemia is are reputable medical organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic and the National Cancer Institute. You don't have to be a doctor or health professional to understand the information on these sites; most provide thorough overviews of the disease written to be accessible to the general public.

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Leukemia Symptoms and Diagnosis

Leukemia symptoms can vary based on the patient, but frequent infections, weakness, bone and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes are commonly experienced effects. Use the sites below to learn the common signs and symptoms of leukemia, and get accounts of how it's diagnosed.

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  • Leukemia generally requires multiple tests to diagnose. These Web sites include information about the various tests your doctor may perform. Due to the fact that different physicians and different types of leukemia require different tests, patients may find they have to undergo a variety of tests before receiving a final diagnosis.

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Leukemia Treatment

Leukemia treatment varies depending on the type of leukemia, the stage of the disease and the patient's individual factors. Nonetheless, there are some common treatments, such as chemotherapy, biological therapy and radiation therapy that are used for leukemia. Use the sites below to learn more about leukemia treatment.

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  • The sites in this section provide an overview of the variety of leukemia treatment options available. Researching individual leukemia treatments will yield deeper information about the preparation and procedure specific to that treatment.

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Leukemia Hospitals

Although many hospitals treat leukemia, some are particularly renowned, or provide special services. Teaching hospitals, for example, often offer participation in clinical trials that are unavailable at other facilities. The sites below can acquaint you with some of the better known leukemia hospitals.

Insights for Leukemia Hospitals

  • Look for links to "Make an Appointment" or "Patient Referral" to find out how to become a patient at these hospitals. You'll either get a phone number or detailed information about the referral process.
  • In general, children's hospitals tend to have more non-medical programs for kids, such as day camps for kids with cancer or other entertainment-type events. If you're a parent with a child who has leukemia, look for links to other services offered by the hospital.

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Clinical Trials for Leukemia

Clinical trials for leukemia allow patients to test new medications or treatments that are not yet available through traditional sources. In some cases, these groundbreaking drugs or surgeries can make a difference in the outcome of the disease.

Insights for Clinical Trials for Leukemia

  • Although these Web sites list clinical trials from a variety of hospitals and research centers, none of them are comprehensive. As a result, it's smart to check them all on a regular basis.
  • Look for a link to e-mail updates or an e-mail newsletter. This way, you'll be notified about newly available and upcoming clinical trials.
  • Most research hospitals offer clinical trials. Learn what trials are being offered by visiting the hospital Web site.

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Leukemia Organizations

There are numerous nonprofit leukemia organizations that focus on raising funds for leukemia research, education, patient care and treatment. As part of their programs to increase awareness, organization Web sites provide a wealth of information for leukemia patients and families. Learn about their programs and research work, and access thorough, reputable information on leukemia at their sites.

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  • If you're interested in contributing financially to any of these organizations, learn how your donations will be used by consulting that organization's "Mission Statement." This usually includes a brief overview of the association's focus and distribution of funds, such as the research they've supported.
  • If you're looking for financial assistance as a leukemia patient, contact these organizations directly through their "Contact" page. If the association is unable to help you, they may be able to guide you to the appropriate organization.
  • These organizations are also a good place to start if you want housing support or counseling during leukemia treatment. Again, contacting the association directly will usually get you a response.

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Leukemia Research and News

Medical researchers are always working to develop new medications, treatments and screenings for leukemia. New research related to the disease is regularly published, and clinical trials of new treatments are frequently performed. Read on to find links to the latest leukemia research and news.

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  • Medical research is either published in raw form in research journals, or summarized in lay terms for news stories and press release.
  • The more you read about leukemia, the more familiar you'll become with its terminology. If you need assistance with definitions when you first begin your research, try a medical dictionary like this one from MedlinePlus.
  • New research is published regularly. Some of these Web sites offer e-mail newsletters or XML news feeds so you automatically get updated about new leukemia research.

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Leukemia Awareness

If you or someone you love has leukemia, you may wish to help in some way. Many organizations and associations sponsor fundraising events to raise money for leukemia research and patients, and to increase leukemia awareness. Participating in an event can help increase your knowledge about leukemia, as well as give you an opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause.

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  • Many of the organizations that host events are also looking for volunteers. Look for a "How You Can Help" or "Volunteer" link if you want to contribute your time to the cause. You can also e-mail the organization directly.
  • If you're curious about the attire or style of an event, look for "Past Events" or "Past Event Photos." Most of these Web sites include photographs or descriptions of events from previous years
  • The Web sites recommended below represent only a selection of events raising money for leukemia, and they may not take place in your area. Contact an organization to see if there's an event in your area, or enter "leukemia fundraising in (name of your town)" into a search engine.

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Leukemia Support

Sometimes the best support comes from other people who have lived through the same experience. Making contact with people who have leukemia—or their family members—may be a comfort to many. Fortunately, the Web provides access to leukemia support through message forums and lists that allow those affected by leukemia to interact with each other.

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  • The most active message forums tend to be those on larger organization or medical Web sites. They're the best place to go for information and news. Smaller message boards may offer more personal support, as many participants are longstanding members who have become Internet friends.
  • If you prefer direct, in-person contact for leukemia support, many of these Web sites also include resources to help you find local leukemia support groups. Try looking for a subject or thread about "Local Groups" or your specific state.

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