Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (Encyclopedia of Cancer)
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells known as lymphocytes.
Leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells. In acute leukemia, the cancerous cells are immature forms called blasts that cannot properly fight infection; patients become ill in rapid fashion.
The cells that make up blood are produced in the bone marrow and the lymph system. The bone marrow is the spongy tissue found in the large bones of the body. The lymph system includes the spleen (an organ in the upper abdomen), the thymus (a small organ beneath the breast-bone), and the tonsils (an organ in the throat). In addition, the lymph vessels (tiny tubes that branch like blood vessels into all parts of the body) and lymph nodes (pea-shaped organs that are found along the network of lymph vessels) are also part of the lymph system. The lymph is a milky fluid that contains cells. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the neck, underarm, pelvis, abdomen, and chest.
The main types of cells found in the blood are the red blood cells (RBCs), which carry oxygen and other materials to all tissues of the body; white blood cells (WBCs), which fight infection; and the platelets, which play...
(The entire section is 5017 words.)
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