Leukemia: What? How? Why?

Cancer…nobody wants to hear it.

People cringe when they hear the word. Some people even knock on any piece of wood nearby as if to ward off bad joojoo when they so much as utter the “C” word.

Leukemia is cancer.

It is the abnormal production of white blood cells from the bone marrow. White blood cells are the fighters of infection in our body. Continuous uncontrolled growth of these white blood cells will eventually crowd out the normal cells and they will stop functioning as they should.

No one can explain what causes leukemia but some experts say these are the risk factors:

Smoking is number one.

Exposure to radiation like X-rays, CT scans, PET scans and bone scans increases the risk. Therefore limit the number of times you do these procedures.

Chemicals, specifically benzene which is found in common everyday products like gasoline, crude oil, house paint, art materials, hair dyes, insect repellents, detergents, rubber and shoe materials. Avoid staying in places where fumes from these products are very strong (huwag mag hang-out sa mga talyer , gasulinahan at bagong pinturang bahay).

Symptoms of leukemia are not specific that’s why it can be frequently ignored. Patients may have fever, night sweats, headaches, bruising or madaling magpasa, bone or joint pain, abdominal pain (due to an enlarged spleen), swollen lymph nodes or kulani, frequent cough and colds (more than 2-3x a year), feeling tired or pagkahapo and weight loss.

How do I know if I have leukemia? A simple CBC or complete blood count (Php 150 at all High Precision Laboratories) will tell you if your WBC is above normal. The doctor will then do a bone marrow biopsy on your hip bone.

Treatment involves several expensive and grueling sessions of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and maybe, bone marrow transplantation. Each chemotherapy session costs Php 10,000/day at around 16 sessions per month.

Leukemia isn’t a very common disease. It’s not even at the top 3 cancers in our country. It only occurs at a rare incidence of 7 per 100,000 people. But what if 1 of those 7 people is someone you know…

My baby brother’s best friend has leukemia…she is Sarah.

Please join the run on Sunday.


If you don’t want to run but you just want to help…Banco De Oro Savings Account #1420055044, Account name: Miranella Hernandez. Or call The Medical City ENT Department 635-6789 or 988-1000. Any amount will go a long way…

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Moral says:

    hi dra! Thank you po, I appreciate this so much :-)