The expert explains how fulminant leukemia manifests itself and what chances of survival there are
Extremely rare and dangerous, yet, if recognized in time, curable. It is a form of blood cancer that is very complex to recognize and the disease it caused is very aggressive the sudden death of Gian Piero Ventrone, Antonio Conte’s trusted athletic trainer, who was now working in the Premier League at Tottenham, after long years at Juventus. The sad news came unexpectedly and suddenly in the world of football: we are talking about “Fulminate leukemia”which is however a generic term and does not correspond to any specific disease, but which is generally used for a particular form of acute myeloid leukemia, what experts call acute promyelocytic leukemia.
Acute promyelocytic leukemia: a very rare tumor
There are about 150 new cases diagnosed every year in Italy. And therefore, like all less common pathologies, it is more difficult to recognize. To make matters worse, it is also one very aggressive disease, which in a small percentage of patients is so fast that there is no time to do all the necessary investigations and then start treatment. So much so that, according to statistics, about 15 percent of patients undergo fatal hemorrhages (for example brain) even before they can receive the diagnosis and, therefore, be subjected to therapies, which however exist and are effective.
How acute promyelocytic leukemia manifests itself
“Rapidly diagnosing acute promyelocytic leukemia is essential because this form of blood cancer progresses quickly – explains Fabrizio Pane, professor of hematology at the Federico II University of Naples -. It manifests itself with the appearance of bruising (the common bruises that form even with minor trauma) e petechiae (small, bright red skin spots) that appear mainly on the lower limbs. These are associated with serious bleeding which are found in most cases in the gastrointestinal, central nervous system and genitourinary system. You can die in a few days, but the therapies are able to cure patients in over 90 percent of cases, if the disease is identified quickly and in centers of reference that are expert and equipped to deal with its management “.
Chance of survival
The chances of surviving and healing, less than 20% until not many years ago, today they are close to 95% thanks to targeted therapynon-chemotherapy, based on arsenic trioxide combined with all-trans-retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A.