You have just been told, “You have leukemia.” With these three words, you may feel that your world has stopped. It’s scary to hear. However, knowledge is powerful. It can help make a difference in how you handle your experience with leukemia.
Every person who has received a diagnosis of leukemia has certain questions. Many of them are likely to be the same as yours: What is leukemia? Will I survive? Was my diagnosis correct? What are my treatment choices? How do I choose the best doctor? Getting answers to these questions can help ease your fears.
We are here to help. This section is arranged to answer your first questions. We want to give you the information you need. This will help you work with your health care team to make the best choices about your treatment and care. Our goal is to help you face leukemia with confidence.
The first step is to learn more about leukemia and your diagnosis.
Our bodies are made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Normal cells grow and multiply when the body needs them. They die when they are no longer needed. This is how your body maintains balance. However, some cells go through a series of changes, called mutations. The “switch” that tells the cells to die is turned off. These cells become cancer. Cancer cells are called malignant. Cancer occurs when cells multiply constantly, whether your body needs them or not. Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells. These are the cells that help the body fight infection. Unlike most types of cancer, leukemia generally does not form a lump called a tumor.