Everything You Need to Know About T-Cell Leukemia

T-Cell Leukemia – Overview

A T-cell leukemia is a sub-type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) which affects the white blood cells in the immune system of the body. These particular white blood cells act as anti-biotic agents and are responsible for helping the immune system fight against infection in the body.

T-cell leukemia is a rare form of lymphoid cancer and is seen to affect adults as well as children.

There are several sub-types of T-cell leukemia:

Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia (LGLL) – This is a slow-growing T-cell leukemia and is found in women more than in men. The cause of this type of T-cell leukemia is not yet known but the risk factors indentified include prevalent rheumatoid arthritis – disease causing swelling of joints in the body. Genetic factors are also known to increase the risk of LGLL.

T-Cell Pro-lymphocytic Leukemia (T-PLL) – This is an aggressive form of CLL and is the most common mature T-Cell leukemia in adults. Older men are at a greater risk of this type of T-cell leukemia. This CLL affects the skin in a particular way which is caused due to a mutation in the T-cells (T-Cell re-arrangement) resulting in abnormal growth of the T-cells.

Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL) – This category of T-Cell leukemia has four different sub-types according to the features, these are:

  • Smoldering
  • Chronic
  • Acute
  • Adult T-Cell Lymphoma (Lymph system cancer)

The growth of the acute and adult T-Cell lymphoma sub-type is faster.

The ATLL is caused by a retrovirus, known as human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV1). 

T-Cell Leukemia – Signs and Symptoms

You may experience the following signs and symptoms in case you are suffering from T-cell leukemia:

  • Recurrent infections
  • Bleeding/Bruising easily
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Constant abdominal pain on left side (swollen spleen)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Skin lesions/Rash
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Itching

It is advisable to consult your doctor promptly in case you experience any of the above symptoms to get a proper diagnose and determine the presence of the leukemia as well as its sub-type in order to suggest the most suitable form of treatment.

T-Cell Leukemia – Staging

Staging is the method of describing the location, metastasizing (spread) as well as the surrounding area the cancer has affected.

There is no particular method of staging of this type of cancer unlike most solid tumors. The diagnostic tests will help the doctor/oncologist to determine the above required factors and suggest the best and most efficient form of treatment for you.

T-Cell Leukemia – Risk Factors & Causes

Although the exact cause of the T-cell leukemia is not yet known there are several risk factors that have been identified that are known to increase the chances of a person developing T-cell leukemia, these are:

  • Genetic mutation
  • Hereditary
  • Environmental factors (smoking, exposure to radiation/chemicals, etc)
  • Race – Japanese, West Indian and African American

T-Cell Leukemia – Diagnosis

There are several different diagnostic tests that help a doctor/oncologist to determine the presence of T-cell leukemia as well as other details about the tumor – location, size, spread, etc. – which will help the oncologist suggest the best and most suitable form of treatment for you.

These are the most common diagnostic tests for T-cell leukemia:

Bone marrow/Blood test – A bone marrow test or a comprehensive blood test helps the oncologist confirm the presence of T-cell leukemia based on the suspicion from the visible signs and symptoms in the patient. A complete blood count (CBC) test measures the number of different types of blood cells in the sample. In case the number of white blood cells in abnormally high then the presence of T-cell leukemia is confirmed.

Bone marrow aspiration/Biopsy – Both the tests are usually done at the same time to examine the bone marrow. A bone marrow consists of a solid and a liquid part.

The bone marrow biopsy is used to remove a small sample of the solid tissue using a strong needle. The sample is then sent to a pathology laboratory for detailed analysis. Usually a bone marrow biopsy is performed in the pelvic bone after a local anesthesia has been administered to avoid discomfort.

Molecular Testing – These are a number of tests that are helpful in identifying specific genes and other factors which are related to the disease.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan – This imaging test helps to create a detailed and clear 3-Dimensional view of the abdominal cavity to check for a swollen spleen or swollen lymph nodes.

T-Cell Leukemia – Treatment & Prevention

There are several forms of treatment methods for T-cell leukemia and the specific treatment method for you will be decided based upon various factors such as your overall health, any underlying medical conditions or disorders, medical history, severity of the symptoms, the type of leukemia, etc.

These are the common T-cell leukemia treatment methods:

Chemotherapy – This treatment method requires the use of various medicinal drugs to destroy the cancer-causing cells and their ability to grow as well. These medicinal drugs may be administered orally or through intra-venous methods.

Immunotherapy/Biologic Therapy – This treatment method aims to increase the body’s immune system’s functioning level to fight the leukemia cells naturally. This method may use substances already present in the body or use artificially-prepared materials to improve the function of the immune system.

Radiation Therapy – This treatment method requires using x-rays or other high-energy particles to destroy the cancer cells. This can be performed using external devices or with internally-placed devices to target the cancer cells.

Surgery – This treatment method aims to surgically remove the spleen and therefore control the production of excessive white blood cells in the body. This method is also known as a ‘splenectomy’. 

Low Cost T-Cell Leukemia Treatment in India

India offers a large network of oncology-specialty hospitals and clinics spread across all its major cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, etc. These cancer-specialty healthcare facilities provide the best T-cell leukemia treatment with the use of the latest and most modern medical technology available. The doctors and oncologists in these hospitals and clinics are highly-experienced and well-trained in managing hundreds of successful T-cell leukemia treatment at a low cost in India.

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