Leukemia Glossary

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL): most common in young children and older adults. It is caused by rapid overproduction of white blood cells.

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML): most common adult leukemia. It is caused by rapid overproduction of undifferentiated bone marrow stem cells.

Anemia: a condition caused by too few red blood cells that usually results in fatigue and poor health.

Aplastic anemia: a condition where the bone marrow produce too few of the three types of blood cells.

Bone Marrow: A spongy tissue within larger bones made up of stem cells that grow into white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

Bone Marrow Transplant: A complicated and dangerous procedure that involves taking bone marrow from a healthy donor and injecting it into a leukemia patient.

Chemotherapy: medical treatment that uses specially designed drugs to kill cancerous cells or inhibit their growth.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): longer term over-production of white blood cells, most common in people over 65.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML): long term over-production of immature blood cells.

Graft vs. Host disease: a dangerous side effect of a bone marrow transplant. In normal organ transplants, the host body immune system can reject the foreign tissues, but in bone marrow transplants the new antibodies provided by the new bone marrow reject the host body.

Leukemia: Cancer of the bone marrow.

Metastasis: when cancerous cells from one tissue invade and kill other tissues.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: a cancer of the immune system whereby cells in lymph nodes abnormally reproduce which eventually leads to tumors that spread throughout the body.

Radiation therapy: use of high energy radiation that kills cancerous cells and prevents them from spreading.

Red blood cells: Responsible for providing oxygen to tissues and organs.

Platelets: Responsible for blood clotting.

Stem cells: unspecialized cells that the body used to create other cells; for instance bone marrow uses stem cells to produce blood cells.

White blood cells: Responsible for fighting off infection and disease in the body.

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Leukemia Glossary and Leukemia Terms page updated 6/20/06