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Leukaemiahot!Tooltip 02/09/2011 Hits: 18939
Leukaemia, or more accurately the leukaemias, is uncontrolled growth of blood cells. These cells are made in the bone marrow, a finely tuned factory in the centre of our bones producing 200 billion red cells, 10 billion white cells and 400 billion platelets every day. Leukaemia generally refers to the overproduction of white blood cells, which play an essential role in our immune systems. In extreme cases this causes the patient's blood to take on a milky appearance; leukaemia is the Greek word for 'white blood'. According to the type of blood cell affected and the way in which the disease progresses, leukaemias are divided into four main groups: • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) • Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) • Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) • Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) There are about 5,300 cases of leukaemia in the UK each year. Like most cancers, the disease occurs more often in older people. The exception to this rule is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common cancer in childhood, diagnosed in 450 children in the UK every year.