A person gets leukemia when the blood cells experience mutation in the DNA or other changes in the cells, which are still being researched, as noted by WebMD. As a result, the affected cells grow and divide rapidly in the body. After a certain period of time, these cells surpass the population of healthy cells in the body, which leads to the appearance of the symptoms of leukemia.
As of 2014, scientists do not understand the main cause of leukemia. They believe that it is caused by a combination of both environmental and genetic factors. There are four main types of leukemia, including acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia. Chronic leukemia is common in adults, while acute leukemia can be found in both adults and children.
With acute leukemia, cells multiply more rapidly than with chronic leukemia, making it develop faster in the body. Chronic leukemia only needs to be treated when a person shows symptoms. Immediate medical attention is required for acute leukemia to prevent the rapid development of cells. The symptoms of leukemia depend on the type of leukemia the affected person is suffering. Some symptoms include a lump in the neck or under the arm, bone pain, nose bleeding, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, night sweats and swelling on the belly.