Types of Leukemia
Cases of leukemia are classified into different types, based on the aggressiveness of the cancer and the kind of blood cells that are affected. There are four common leukemia types: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, and acute myeloid leukemia. Other types include rarer forms of the disease, such as hairy cell leukemia.
The common types of leukemia differ based on how quickly the disease progresses (chronic versus acute) and by which blood cells are affected (lymphoid versus myeloid).
Leukemia can be chronic (gets worse slowly) or acute (gets worse quickly).
In the early stages of chronic leukemia, the abnormal blood cells can still do their work, which means that people with chronic leukemia may not have any symptoms. However, as chronic leukemia progresses and the number of leukemia cells in the blood rises, symptoms will appear.
In acute leukemia, the blood cells are very abnormal, the blood cells cannot carry out their normal work, and the number of abnormal cells increases rapidly. Acute leukemia progresses quickly.
The types of leukemia will also depend on the type of white blood cell that is affected. Leukemia can arise in lymphoid cells or myeloid cells. Leukemia that affects lymphoid cells is called lymphocytic leukemia. Leukemia that affects myeloid cells is called myeloid leukemia or myelogenous leukemia.
Based on the aggressiveness of the disease and the blood cells that are affected, there are four common leukemia types, which include:
Hairy cell leukemia is another type of leukemia, but it is rare.