08 May 2009

Jeremy Mansfield has leukaemia

Talk-show host Jeremy Mansfield has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and will start a six-month course of chemotherapy, Primedia Broadcasting announced this week.

Talk-show host Jeremy Mansfield has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and will start a six-month course of chemotherapy, Primedia Broadcasting announced this week.

Spokeswoman Natasha Wadvalla of 94.7 Highveld Stereo announced the news on Thursday. Mansfield was quoted in the statement as saying: "This is not life threatening but needs to be dealt with and that is why my doctors and I have chosen to take an aggressive approach to the disease.

"I have always been a positive person and that is the way I am approaching this particular hurdle in my life. There is too much good to be done to allow something like this to get in the way," he added.

What is leukaemia?
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood forming cells. It starts from a single immature cell that becomes abnormal. Over time, several changes take place in that cell before it becomes malignant. Once it is malignant, the cell keeps producing large numbers of malignant daughter cells, some of which mature, and some of which remain as immature as the original abnormal cell.

The different types of leukaemia
Leukaemia is grouped according to the speed at which the disease develops. Acute leukaemia's develop fast, while chronic leukaemia's develop more slowly.

This corresponds with how well the leukaemia cells mature. Acute leukaemia cells are mostly stuck at the blast stage while most chronic leukaemia cells develop into almost normal mature leukocytes.

Leukaemia is then further divided according to what type of cells the leukaemia cells are trying to become. This is either lymphoid (also known as lymphocytic), for cells trying to be lymphocytes, or myeloid (also known as myelogenous or non-lymphocytic), for all the other cell types.

What causes leukaemia?
The cause of leukaemia is unknown for the majority of patients. There are however a few known causes. These are:

  • exposure to radiation
  • some chemotherapy drugs may increase the risk of getting AML
  • some viruses increase the risk
  • previous blood disorders such as myelodysplasia and aplastic anaemia
  • benzene exposure is associated with CML
  • hereditary risk factors

For most of these causes, a large number of people are exposed but very few actually develop leukaemia. This is linked to the "multi-hit" theory of the development of cancers, where a cell has to be damaged ("hit") in a number of different ways over time before it becomes cancerous.

Mansfield said he had changed his way of life as necessitated by the diagnosis. He had no intention of reducing his on-air commitments but would manage his off-air commitments accordingly. – (Sapa, May 2009)

Read more:
Cancer risks: real and fake


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