What is Adult T-cell Leukemia?
Adult T-cell leukemia is a rare type of T-cell cancer caused by human lymphotropic virus type1 (HTLV-1) and typically affects blood and can also develop in the lymph nodes, skin and other areas or organs of the body. T cells or T-lymphocytes are the type of white blood cells that help to fight various pathogens (Disease-causing microorganisms or agents). Adult T-cell leukemia is more common in black people of southeastern ethnicity. It is a rare condition that usually affects adults and is very rare in children.
The human lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) strain (subtype) of the retrovirus is the likely cause of 20 million affected people worldwide. Intravenous drug abusers are at the greatest risk of contracting human lymphotropic virus type 1 and adult T-cell leukemia. Sharing contaminated needles, transfusing infected blood from a person with HTL-1 infection into a healthy person, and contacting a baby with contaminated mother’s blood during pregnancy or childbirth are risk factors that can cause adult T-cell leukemia.
Signs and Symptoms
The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Increase calcium level in the blood
- Swelling and enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck, armpits, and groin
- Constant feeling of tiredness
- Rashes or lesions on the skin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant Fever
- Excessive sweating at night
The following diagnostic techniques and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis these are
- Diagnostic imaging techniques such as USG, CT-scan, MRI, and PET scan can be used to detect the site, size, and extent of the tumour.
- Complete blood count with peripheral smear
- The antibody test for HTLV-1
- Tumour biopsy
- Histopathological examination
Treatment options include prescription of antiviral drugs such as zidovudine and chemotherapy. Treatment recommendations vary according to the type, staging of the adult T –cell leukemia, and general health of the patient.
What Support can we Give for Adult T-cell Leukemia?
Adult T-cell Leukemia is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Adult T-cell Leukemia, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: