Like other diseases of the blood-forming system, leukemias are a type of blood cancer. There are various kinds of leukemia, and in many cases the only way to treat them is with a blood stem cell transplant. Leukemias occur when abnormal progenitors of white blood cells proliferate uncontrollably, crowding out healthy blood components.
Leukemias are divided into two groups, depending on which subgroup of white blood cells the abnormal progenitors developed from: myeloid and lymphocytic. Myeloid leukemias develop from progenitors in the bone marrow, lymphocytic leukemias from those in the lymphatic system.
Leukemias can be acute or chronic. Acute forms, which can even occur in children, usually progress very quickly and can be fatal if left untreated. However, early action and intervention can stop the disease from spreading and often leads to a full recovery. Chronic leukemias tend to appear around middle age. They develop slowly over years and often are not able to be cured.
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