The key difference between leukemia and leukopenia is that leukemia is cancer that occurs in the blood-forming tissues of the body, including the bone marrow and lymphatic system, while leukopenia is a condition that occurs when people have a reduced number of total white blood cells in their blood.
White blood cells in the human body are responsible for protecting the body from infections. These cells are usually produced in the bone marrow. There are several types of white blood cells, and each type can fight particular types of pathogens. In normal cases, the white blood cell count ranges between 4,500 to 10,000 for each microliter. Leukemia and leukopenia are two health conditions that are caused by the variation in the number of white blood cells in our body.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer in blood-forming tissues of the body, including bone marrow and lymphatic system. There are many types of leukemia. Some types can be identified commonly in children. The other forms of leukemia occur mostly in adults. In people who suffer from leukemia, the bone marrow produces a high amount of abnormal white blood cells that do not function properly.
The symptoms of leukemia may 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 the skin, excessive sweating at night, bone pain or tenderness. Leukemia seems to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as mutations in certain types of genes, smoking, and exposure to certain chemicals. Moreover, this condition can be diagnosed through physical examinations, blood tests, and bone marrow tests. Furthermore, treatments for leukemia include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy, engineering immune cells to fight leukemia, and clinical trials.
What is Leukopenia?
Leukopenia is a condition that occurs if people have a reduced number of total white blood cells in their blood. Leukopenia is the opposite of leukemia. A person can have leukopenia when they have white blood cells count in the blood less than 4000 microliters. There is a number of factors for this condition, including attacks by viruses that affect the capacity of bone marrow to produce white blood cells, damages caused by cancer, attacks to bone marrow, ingestion of drugs that prevent bone marrow from functioning properly, hypersplenism and other similar disorders that damage newly producing blood cells, and excessive infections that choke the production of blood cells in the body to replace old blood cells as soon as possible. Symptoms of leukopenia may include fever, chills, sweating, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, an area of the body becoming red, swollen, or painful, injury draining pus, mouth sores, and painful urination.
Moreover, leukopenia can be diagnosed through medical history, physical examination, complete blood count, and other blood tests (C reactive protein test). Treatments for leukopenia may include stopping treatments or medication that cause leukopenia, treating underlying conditions, taking antimicrobials and growth factors, diet (avoiding certain foods like raw meat, poultry, and seafood), and lifestyle changes (washing hands, rinsing fresh produce, separating certain foods, checking temperature, etc.).
What are the Similarities Between Leukemia and Leukopenia?
- Leukemia and leukopenia are two health conditions caused by the number of white blood cells in the body.
- They are blood disorders.
- Both conditions can cause life-threatening complications.
- They can be diagnosed through a complete blood count.
- They are treated through specific medications.
What is the Difference Between Leukemia and Leukopenia?
Leukemia is a form of cancer that occurs in the body’s blood-forming tissues, including bone marrow and lymphatic system, while leukopenia is a condition that occurs when people have a reduced number of total white blood cells in their blood. Thus, this is the key difference between leukemia and leukopenia. Furthermore, in leukemia, white blood cell count increases, but in leukopenia, white blood cell count decreases.
The below infographic presents the differences between leukemia and leukopenia in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Leukemia vs Leukopenia
Leukemia and leukopenia are two blood disorders caused due to abnormal levels of WBC in the blood. Leukemia is a form of cancer in the body’s blood-forming tissues, while leukopenia is a condition that happens when people have a reduced number of total white blood cells in their blood. So, this is the key difference between leukemia and leukopenia.
1. “Leukemia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
2. Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “Leukopenia: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More.” Healthline, Healthline Media.