An increase in the abnormal or mutated white blood cells in the body leads to a type of cancer called leukemia. The bone marrow produces white blood cells that tend to take over the space of normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the blood and bone marrow. This imbalance leads to a number of problems that include recurrent infections, anemia and excessive bleeding. In the following paragraphs, we shall have a look at the leukemia life expectancy according to its classification.
Life Expectancy of Different Forms of Leukemia
Leukemia is a word that is used to describe a broad spectrum of diseases affecting the blood or bone marrow. Leukemia is divided into different forms and types based on its clinical and pathological manifestation. The two main types of leukemia are 'acute leukemia' and 'chronic leukemia'.
Acute leukemia is a rapidly progressing disease where immature blood cells are more in number. These cells take up the place of healthy blood cells and accumulate within the bone marrow and spleen. They tend to spill into the blood stream and spread to other parts of the body. The different subtypes of acute leukemia are very common in children. The life expectancy is very low and varies from a few months to a few years. This is because the disease progresses rapidly and spreads quickly.
Chronic leukemia is a condition where there is an excessive build up of mature, abnormal white blood cells in the body. This condition takes time to develop and years to progress. Chronic leukemia does not require immediate treatment and the patient has to be monitored to find the right therapy. The chronic leukemia life expectancy can be about 10 to 20 years or even more. As the disease is slow-growing, the chances of survival are better.
Leukemias are further divided into groups related to the type of blood cell affected. Thus it has two groups called 'lymphocytic leukemia' and 'myelogenous (myeloid) leukemia'. Let's take a look these diseases and their life expectancies.
When there is an increase in the production of abnormal and immature lymphocytes, it is called lymphocytic leukemia. These cancerous cells are produced in the bone marrow and mostly involve the lymphocyte subtype cells called the B cells. This subdivision is further divided into:
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is an acquired form of leukemia that is very common in young children. This disease may also be seen affecting adults who are above the age of 65 years. The life expectancy of ALL tends to differ according to the age of the patient. It has been found that 85% children with ALL survive as compared to 50% adults with ALL.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a disease that commonly affects adults who are aged 55 years and above. It may affect adolescents, but does not occur in young children. The CLL life expectancy is about 75% in a 5 year survival term.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Myeloid or myelogenous leukemia is a cancer that occurs in the marrow cells that develop into red blood cells. In some cases, the cancer may involve white blood cells and platelets. This leukemia is divided into the following:
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a common disease affecting adults, especially men. This condition usually requires chemotherapy for treatment. The AML life expectancy is about 40% in a 5 year survival term.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Chronic myelogenous leukemia is mostly an adult disease that has a 5 year survival rate of about 90%. The life expectancy for this type of leukemia is said to be the highest.
It has been found that about 33% patients under the age of 65 years are cancer free after 5 years of diagnosis along with treatment. Children have better life expectancy than adults. The leukemia life expectancy without treatment is no more than a few months up to a year. The life expectancy tends to differ based on the type of cancer (slow-growing or rapidly progressing) and the cells that are affected. For further information on leukemia survival rate and life expectancies, speak to your health care provider.