Rishi Kapoor vs blood cancer: What exactly is leukaemia – all you need to know

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On Thursday morning, veteran Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor succumbed to leukaemia – form of cancer that he had been battling for the past two years. Once hailed as the chocolate boy of Bollywood, Rishi Kapoor evolved to become a wonderful character actor in what he called his second coming into films. His roles in Agneepath, Kapoor and Sons, and 102 not out are just some of the names that come to mind while talking about the actor.

Leukaemia, also known as blood cancer, is a form of cancer that affects the blood cells. Here’s everything you need to know about the disease

Whom does it affect? Although leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, it mainly affects older adults

What are the types of leukaemia?

There are four main types of leukaemia

a) Acute myeloid leukaemia: The bone marrow produces immature white blood cells (WBCs), which results in patients having a very high or very low WBC count, as well as red blood cell and platelet count

b) Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: After acute myeloid leukaemia, this is the most common type of leukaemia in adults. In this type of leukaemia, the bone marrow produces too many WBCs

c) Acute lymphocytic leukaemia: This type of leukaemia is similar to acute myeloid leukaemia and here, the WBCs are either high or low. This form of leukaemia is more common in children than it is in adults.

d) Chronic myelogenous leukaemia: This is a slow progressing disease where many WBCs are made in the bone marrow.

What are the symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs on the left side
  • Unexpected weight or appetite loss
  • Night sweats
  • Infections

Do men get it more?

While studies show that men are more prone to leukaemia than women, there are other risk factors. These include

– Age: The older you are, greater the chance of contracting the disease

– Smoking

– Chemotherapy or radiation therapy

– Exposure to hazardous chemicals

– History of blood disorders

– Genetic disorders

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