What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer.  Cancer occurs when cells form when the body simply does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should.  Leukemia is a cancer of the blood.  When someone has leukemia, the bone marrow is infected, producing abnormal white blood cells, these abnormal white blood cells are leukemia cells.  These leukemia cells are not fully developed, making them lose their function.  They slowly begin to out number healthy red, and white blood cells, along with the blood platelets causing a major imbalance in the blood.  This imbalance is life threatening, blocking the complete function of the blood.  Along with blocking the function of blood, if these cells reach the nervous system and build up in the cerebrospinal fluid (which supports the brain and spinal column), they can cause many troublesome problems like seizures and headaches. 


Ed Bradley, a well know 60 minutes corresponder lost his life in the fight against chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  He had worked for CBS news for 35 years and corresponded for 60 minutes for 26 years.  Doctors were removing Bradleys spleen as an attempt to slow the cancer, when his body shut down.

A simple diagram of a vein.