Myeloid leukemia is a fairly rare form of cancer. However, because it often has no symptoms until it is far advanced, it is not easy to find. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 4,500 new cases of chronic myeloid leukemia in the US this year, and about 600 people will die from the disease.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia. Myeloid (or myelogenous) refers to the cell types that are involved. Myeloid leukemia involves one of two types of white blood cells: granulocytes or monocytes.
It is a form of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. Next, it invades the blood and can then spread to the lymph nodes, the spleen, liver, and other parts of the body. In contrast, other types of cancer can start in these organs and then spread to the bone marrow, but these are not known as leukemia. Chronic myeloid leukemia can also change into a fast-growing acute leukemia that invades almost any organ in the body.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia affects mostly adults, and mostly older adults. The average age of people with CML is around 66 years. Only about 2% of chronic myeloid leukemia patients are children.
As with other forms of cancer, research is ongoing to help find ways to prevent and treat myeloid leukemia. There have been vast improvements in treatment of this disease in recent years. One study is of particular interest because it examines the use of a very common beverage- green tea to help treat myeloid leukemia.
This study, reported by the UK Tea Council, examined green tea’s ability to induce apoptosis on leukemia cells. Apoptosis is the systematic killing off of cells. It happens in many cases in the body to help ensure that the healthiest cells survive. And, occasionally, researchers discover substances outside the body that can induce apoptosis.
In this study, researchers studied the effects of green tea’s anti-oxidant, EGCG, both in the lab and in mice. In both situations, they discovered that green tea had the ability to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells. Within three hours of exposure to the EGCG, the cells began killing themselves off. In mice, the EGCG inhibited tumor growth significantly.
This could be extremely important in the future treatment of myeloid leukemia. While more studies are necessary, and human trials should follow to determine if the results are the same in humans, it is a positive finding.
Green tea is inexpensive, easy to come by and healthy all around. There are many good reasons to drink it, even without the possibility that it could treat leukemia. Take a look at all the things that have been discovered about green tea.
Green Tea has been shown to prevent cancer – Green tea’s anti-oxidants have been shown to have cancer preventative effects. Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals, the damaging molecules that are created as a by-product of our digestion process. Without the proper level of anti-oxidants in our diets, these free radicals can cause aging and disease, including cancer. Many foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, contain anti-oxidants; but green tea has some of the most potent available.
There have been numerous studies that have linked green tea with preventing many forms of cancer. Among the cancers with promise of being prevented through ingestion of green tea are prostate cancer, breast cancer, digestive system cancers, ovarian cancer and skin cancer. There have also been studies that have linked green tea with having to treat other forms of cancer, too.
Green tea has been shown to prevent heart disease – In other studies, green tea’s anti-oxidants have been shown to prevent LDL cholesterol that is circulating in the blood from oxidizing and hardening into plaque. When LDL cholesterol hardens into plaque, it sticks to artery walls and narrows the arteries. Narrowed arteries increase the risk of heart attack and stroke because blood flow is inhibited.
Green tea has been shown to regulate blood sugar – Studies have also shown that green tea may have the power to naturally regulate blood sugar. Green tea may prove to be an effective way to prevent, or even treat, Type II diabetes.
Green tea may aid in weight loss – Green tea has been shown to create thermogenesis, a heat that burns fat. More research is needed, but it appears that, when combined with a healthy diet, green tea may speed weight loss. In addition, if green tea helps regulate blood sugar, this may also aid in weight loss.
So, if you’re not drinking green tea already, you should be. Adding green tea to your diet is easy to do, and it’s delicious! As part of an overall healthy diet, green tea may be a powerful disease preventer, and may be an important part of living a long and healthy life.