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Breaking the Silence: Leukemia

August 11, 2023

Breaking the Silence: Leukemia - featured image

Surprisingly little is known about leukemia, despite it being one of the deadliest cancers to afflict mankind.

Dr. Andrea Morphis, an Oncologist at Busamed Bram Fischer International Airport Hospital is a passionate advocate for early detection and improved treatment standards for the disease.

“Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It is a serious condition that can be difficult to diagnose.”

Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children, accounting for about one-third of all childhood cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, the overall five-year survival rate for all types of leukemia combined is 62 percent and the most common type of leukemia in adults is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which accounts for about 25 percent of all cases.

Dr. Morphis says not reckonising the signs and symptoms of leukemia could lead to a delay in treatment, which could be detrimental to a patient’s health. “In recent years, there has been a growing movement to break the silence around leukemia through education about what to look out for.”

She says signs and symptoms can vary depending on the type of leukemia and the stage of the disease. “In children, common signs and symptoms of leukemia include fatigue, frequent infections, bruising and bleeding, and swollen lymph nodes.

“In adults, common signs and symptoms of leukemia include fatigue, fever, weight loss, and easy bruising. In some cases, leukemia can also cause symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, and nosebleeds.”

Early detection and treatment of leukemia can improve a person’s chances of recovery and reduce the risk of complications, he/she says.

Dr. Morphis adds that bringing conversations about leukemia in the public domain is crucial. “By increasing public knowledge and understanding of the disease, we can help more people recognise the markers of leukemia and seek medical attention when needed. “This can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, which can improve outcomes and save lives.”

Says Dr. Morphis: “We know now that there are other steps that can be taken to minimise and possibly even prevent cancerous cells from replicating in the body. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.”

She says people who have a family history of leukemia or other blood cancers could also consider genetic testing to determine their risk. Although there are steps that we can do to minimize the risk, the genetic mutations that occur are largely out of our control, which is why awareness and early detection remain paramount.

For further information or to book an appointment, you can contact Dr Andrea Morphis’s practice on Tel: 082 976 8410/051 444 3205 or Email: oncologyfb@gmail.com.

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