Her songs inspired some of the most beautiful moments in many people’s lives. A pioneer in the music industry, Etta James was always a force, that’s why it was truly a gut-wrenching moment when the “At Last” singer passed in January 2012, surrounded by family.
Her health issues were almost as long as her discography. According to medical records, James suffered from diabetes, kidney problems and dementia but ultimately passed due to complications from leukemia. Although more nearly 1 million Americans are diagnosed with leukemia, the rare form of cancer is still highly misunderstood.
What is leukemia?
According to the Mayo Clinic, leukemia is cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system.
Many types of leukemia exist. Some forms of leukemia are more common in children. Other forms of leukemia occur mostly in adults.
Leukemia usually involves white blood cells. Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters — they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function properly.
Treatment for leukemia can be complex — depending on the type of leukemia and other factors. But there are strategies and resources that can help make your treatment successful.
What are the symptoms?
Leukemia symptoms vary, depending on the type of leukemia. Common leukemia signs and symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Frequent or severe infections
- Losing weight without trying
- Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Recurrent nosebleeds
- Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
- Excessive sweating, especially at night
- Bone pain or tenderness
What are the treatments?
Common treatments used to fight leukemia include: