The white blood cells protect the body from infection, but when a white blood cell becomes cancerous it begins to reproduce in an uncontrolled way, so that the cancerous cells replace the normal blood cells. This cancer is known as leukemia, and leukemia left untreated would usually cause a fatal shortage of red blood cells, which would result in serious anemia. Anemia is a decrease in the amount of oxygen-carrying substance (hemoglobin) found in red blood cells.
The two main kinds of leukemia are acute and chronic, classified into two main types depending upon where the cancerous cells originate from. The two types are called lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common kind of cancer in children, with the effects of pallor and anemia becoming evident within a few weeks of the onset of the disease.
Leukemia is not the only reason a person might be anemic, other causes of anemia include:
* Malabsorption syndrome (failure to absorb iron from food)
* Poor diet
* Excessive blood loss from menstrual bleeding, peptic ulcers, piles or bowel cancer
* Vitamin B12 deficiency (called pernicious anemia)
* Inherited anemias (such as sickle cell anemia)
* Chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure and cancer
* Bone marrow disorders such as leukemia
The symptoms of leukemia include:
* Recurring infections
* Mouth ulcers
* Pain in the limbs
* Severe headaches
* Persistent raised temperatures
* Enlarged lymph glands
* Night sweats
* Bleeding or bruising easily
* Heart palpitations
* Visual disturbances
* Pain in the penis during erection
The chronic form of leukemia develops very slowly, and patients may survive 5-10 years from the time the initial diagnosis is made. The causes of individual leukemia can’t usually be determined, but the risk factors for acute leukemia are:
* An immune system response delay (in infants)
* Drugs used in treatment of cancer
* Exposure to radiation
* Chromosomal disorder
* Exposure to industrial chemicals
It is very important to treat the anemic patient for any reason, but especially when they have leukemia. Since it is usually more difficult for a vegetarian to get the proper amount of iron in their diet, eating moderate amount of meat will usually be indicated. High-fiber foods such as beans and whole grains bind with iron, which makes absorption more difficult.
* Iron deficiency in men and post-menopausal women should always be investigated.
There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. The orthodox treatment for low iron includes:
* Iron supplements
* Injections of Vitamin B12
* Blood transfusions (if anemia is severe enough)
The most common form of treatment for leukemia is chemotherapy, radiotherapy and steroids. Of course, the anti-cancer drugs that are intended to kill the cancerous cells will also lower the patient’s resistance to infection, so powerful antibiotics are usually given alongside the chemo.
Bone marrow may be treated with drugs or removed and replaced with with healthy bone marrow. Also, blood transfusions may be given, especially white blood cell transfusions. During this time the patient will be suffering from anemia, so a diet that is rich in iron as possible will be given. Besides iron, vitamin B6, B12, folic acid and zinc may be added to the diet, on an individual basis.
Healing foods for leukemia:
* Wild carrot
* Yellow dock
* Pau d’arco
* Bitter melon
Healing foods for anemia:
* Dessicated liver
* Soybeans and soymilk
* Pumpkin seeds
* Sesame seeds
* Don Quai
* Shiitake mushrooms
* Parsley root
Healing supplements for anemia:
* Royal Jelly
Healing Nutrients and Phytochemicals:
* Vitamin K
* Vitamin B12
* Vitamin B1
* Vitamin E
For a more comprehensive list go to:
Problems like poor absorption of iron or improper production of hemoglobin may be successfully treated through diet, as well as other alternative methods such as spiritual healing, acupuncture, stress reduction and reflexology. At other times, these methods alongside the treatment of your physician can benefit and speed the healing time. It is always wise to consult with your physician, as individual treatment may vary.