Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia:
A type of blood cell cancer. In leukemia, immature blood cells start growing abnormally and become cancer. These cells crowd out the healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. When this happens, people become anemic or prone to bleeding or infection. Here is an example of a bone marrow biopsy where the leukemia cells (small blue) have replaced the normal bone marrow (large white and surrounding cells). The cause of Acute Leukemia is generally unknown, although many different things are seen to influence the development, including virus and chemical exposure.
Different types of leukemia depend on the type of blood cell that becomes cancer. Some grow quickly and are called Acute and some grow slowly and are called Chronic. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a cancer of the lymphoblasts (white blood cells, which fight infection). Acute leukemia is a fast-growing cancer that usually gets worse quickly. White blood cells are the most common type of blood cell to become cancer, however the red blood cells (cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body) and platelets (cells that clot the blood) may also become cancerous.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia occurs most often in children under the age of 10 and adults older than 70 years.