What is leukemia? | Hematologic System Diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

What is leukemia? | Hematologic System Diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

Voiceover: When most people
hear the word cancer, they usually think of a tumor, so they think of a group of cells that are dividing really rapidly that eventually form a mass. And you can see that mass. You can point to it and say, “That’s the source of our problem. “We need to get rid of it right away, “either with surgery or with medicine.” I think what makes leukemia
harder to understand and harder to visualize
than other types of cancers is the fact that with
leukemia you don’t necessarily see a tumor, and that’s because leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Specifically, it’s a
cancer of blood cells. So, what are these blood
cells that I’m talking about? Well, let’s draw a blood vessel, which is where all of
the blood is contained. When most people think of blood, they think of a liquid, so
that’s what I am shading in, the liquid part of the blood. But blood has lots of cells in it too. So, for one, it has these
cells called red blood cells, and hopefully you can see that, which are really important
for carrying oxygen and oxygen is required by all
of the organs in our body, everything from your brain to
your muscles requires oxygen. Then there are these cells
that are called platelets, which actually aren’t cells at all. They are little chunks
or fragments of cells that form blood clots
to help stop bleeding. Then you have these guys. There are several different
types of white blood cells, which is what our body uses
to fight off infection. So, these are the guys that
protect us from bacteria and viruses and parasites. So, these cells are found in the blood. That’s why they are called blood cells. But they are actually
not made in the blood. They are made inside the bone. So, I’m going to draw a bone. If you were to look inside the bone, so if you were to take a
slice of bone like this and you were to look at it, so this is your eye right
here looking inside the bone, you would see something like this. You would see that on
the outside of the bone is this hard part that we all know about, but you would see that bone
isn’t solid all throughout. There’s actually this hollow
cavity in the center of the bone, and that hollow cavity is filled
with his red, spongy tissue. That red, spongy tissue
is called bone marrow, and bone marrow is where all of these different blood cells are made. So, I’m going to clear
that out so that we can see what bone marrow looks like and what’s going on inside bone marrow. If you looked inside, you’d
see red blood cells being made, you’d see some cells making platelets, and you’d see white blood
cells being made, right? And this is normal. This is all completely normal. But in leukemia, one of these cells, it could be a red blood cell, a platelet, or a white blood cell, starts multiplying really
rapidly and out of control and it starts overtaking the bone marrow, kind of like this. And that’s a problem for two reasons. Firstly, this cell that’s
dividing really rapidly, this leukemia cell,
doesn’t serve any function like a normal blood cell does. So, it doesn’t carry oxygen. It doesn’t fight off infection
or help make blood clots. It kind of does nothing. It’s kind of a waste of space, and that’s a problem because we don’t want to use any of our body’s
energy making cells that don’t help the body, right? Secondly, it is a problem
because if any one cell starts dividing really rapidly and taking up a lot of space
inside the bone marrow, that leaves behind very little space and very little food for
the other cells to grow. So, because of this, the bone marrow isn’t able to make as many of those other normal, healthy blood cells. And if it can’t make them, then it can’t supply them into the blood, and that’s the problem
you see with leukemia, where you start seeing fewer
red blood cells in the blood, that’s those guys, and fewer platelets and fewer white blood cells in the blood. Then, eventually, when the leukemia cells run out of space to grow
inside the bone marrow, they leak into the blood. So, you start to see
leukemia cells in the blood, kind of like that, and actually this picture right here explains almost all of the symptoms that you see in leukemia. So, let’s make some room to talk about the symptoms of leukemia. Okay, so firstly we said we see a decrease in the number of red blood cells, right, which I’m just going to abbreviate it as RBCs for red blood cells. Since red blood cells carry oxygen, this leads to symptoms
like weakness and tiredness and fatigue, and the fatigue is from the brain not getting enough oxygen. And the body compensates for this by starting to breathe more quickly. So, the patient starts to experience some shortness of breath. And because red blood cells
give the blood its red color, the patient starts looking paler when they have fewer red blood cells. We also said that we see a decrease in the number of platelets in leukemia. So, if the patient starts
bleeding for whatever reason, they don’t have enough platelets around to form that blood clot
that stops the bleeding. So, they experience prolonged bleeding and they also see easy bruising. Okay. And finally, we said that there
is fewer white blood cells, which I’m just going to
abbreviate as WBCs, right. And since white blood cells
help fight off infection, this leads to more frequent infections, an increased number of infections, or increased susceptibility to infections. These cells, these leukemia cells, that are really rapidly dividing, take up a lot of the body’s energy. And because of that,
you see symptoms such as weakness and symptoms such
as significant weight loss, which are things that you
see in lots of other cancers because you also have rapidly
dividing cells in other cancers. And then, finally, the
leukemia cells start to grow into the wall of the bone, and if you have ever had a bone
fracture or bone infection, you know that the wall of the bone has lots of very sensitive
sensory nerves in it, and because of that, the
patients with leukemia start experiencing bone pain, and that’s not pain in just one bone, it’s pain throughout
the bones of the body. So, it’s more generalized bone pain. So, if a patient starts showing signs and symptoms of leukemia, a doctor will often start
off by getting a blood test, and if they get a blood test, the first thing that you will
see is this picture over here. You’ll see fewer of the
healhy, normal cells and you may even see the leukemia
cells in the blood, right? So, that would lead to the suspicion that maybe the patient has leukemia, and that suspicion can be confirmed by actually looking
inside the bone marrow, and that’s this. I’m just drawing in the
cavity inside the bone. And you can look inside the bone marrow by actually sticking a
long needle inside the bone and drawing out some
fluid and then looking at the stuff under the microscope, and that’s actually called
a bone marrow aspiration. So, in a nutshell, this is
what leukemia is all about.

100 thoughts on “What is leukemia? | Hematologic System Diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy”

  1. Claps, I've been trying to find all these types of information that clearly explains the necessary details and.. here we go. Thanks to Khan Academy once again!

  2. https://secure.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?RegistrationID=705240

    Please everyone donate. I saw a post by the person who made this, I don't know her personally but she hasn't got any donations so far so I think we should all start sharing this around and possibly help treat someone with leukemia. Please don't ignore this, if you think you know people on your Facebook/instagram or any social media that will donate/share. Please share the link to them โค

    Please please help people out. I begging. I can't donate we need other people that can Please!

  3. Thank you so much
    It was really helpful….
    Khan Academy is doing gr8 job ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ

  4. i have leukemia when i found out i was to young to know im still pretty young im 12 but my mom started to cry so i did ;(

  5. Would be very appreciated if this could be shared! This is a GoFundMe for my mom and her past + recent medical issues. She has had alot going on with her disorder and sickness and was also deemed disable. This GoFundMe would be helping out her medical bills now and for the future. Many many tests will be ran and continued as they have over the years with the help of this. This is important to me and my family and sharing it on Facebook is a last hope we have. Please share! Everything and anything is appreciated! โคโคโค

  6. Thank you this helped a lot I now understand what it really is my grandmother passed away from leukemia on Friday July 13th at 86 years old she had been fighting it for about 3years until she got it I thought it was a childhood cancer now I know thank you

  7. My brother is now at choc hospital fighting against this disease if you can help with a donation here is the link please share gf.me/u/m2vnvt

  8. After heard about Roman reign ,it triggers me, what this was …. Cancer of blood cells… Damn so bad.. ๐Ÿ˜‘

  9. I Came Here BAcause Of Roman Reigns Announcement Man This IS A Fucked Up Problem Praying That Roman Fights It Off!

  10. After Roman Reigns's speech I came here to know What is Leukaemia? Our Best wishes with you Man. You are the Champion & you will be back soon. # Miss u @ Roman Reigns

  11. I had to do my research on this every since I heard Roman Reigns have this it's just so heartbreaking hearing this what it is and what it means ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ™

  12. I'm here to know wt Is leukomania !! And here after #Big dog leaving ring….I wish that roman will back in action after the dialysis….

  13. Just wanted to see what happened to Roman reigns๐Ÿ˜ฑ he will definitely make it ๐Ÿ’ช leukemia RIP๐Ÿคซ

  14. I'm only interested bcs my favorite wrestler has to overcome this sickness… I believe RR will come back
    Raw will never be the same without Reigns ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

  15. No, I did not come here cause of Roman reigns. I came here for Charle Murphy and this video explains very well what is Leukemia.

  16. A speechless testimony of a mother after her daughter(leukemia patient) recovers because of Imuregen Nucleotide supplementation.


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