Normal Bone Marrow and Lymphoid Tissue
In order to understand the different types of leukemia, it helps to have some basic knowledge of the blood and lymph (limf) systems.
Bone marrow is the soft, spongy, inner part of bones. All of the different types of blood cells are made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is made up of blood-forming cells, fat cells, and tissues that aid the growth of blood cells. Early blood cells are called stem cells. These stem cells grow in an orderly process to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all other tissues of the body. They also carry away carbon dioxide, a waste product of cell activity. A shortage of red blood cells (anemia) causes weakness, shortness of breath, and tiredness.
Platelets are actually pieces that break off from certain bone marrow cells. They are called platelets because they look a little bit like plates when seen under the microscope. Platelets help stop bleeding by plugging up areas of blood vessels damaged by cuts or bruises.
White blood cells help defend the body against germs – viruses and bacteria. There are quite a few types of white blood cells. Each has a special role to play in protecting the body against infection. The three main types of white blood cells are granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes. The suffix -cyte means cell.
The immune system is made up mainly of lymphoid tissue (also known as lymphatic tissue). Lymphoid tissue is found in many places throughout the body, including the lymph nodes, the thymus, the spleen, the tonsils and adenoids, and the bone marrow.
The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph fluid. Lymph vessels are like veins except that they carry a clear fluid, lymph, instead of blood. Lymph fluid contains excess fluid from tissues, waste products, and immune system cells.
The main cell type that forms lymphoid tissue is the lymphocyte.
Any of the blood-forming or lymphoid cells can turn into a leukemic cell. Once that happens, the cell can reproduce to form many new cancer cells. Eventually, these cells can overwhelm the bone marrow, spill out into the bloodstream, and spread to other organs.
American Cancer Society
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If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with any of the following leukemia's, then please contact us immediately:
- Aplastic Anemia (AA)
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
- Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL)
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