Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL, is the most common type of childhood cancer. It is sometimes also known as Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. While it is most frequently diagnosed in children, it can also be found in adults.
ALL is acute, meaning it is aggressive and develops rapidly. It starts in immature lymphocytes, called lymphoblasts, which normally mature into to play a key role in fighting infections. As the cells mutate into leukemia cells, they damage the body’s ability to functional normally in many ways.
There are two types of lymphocytes – “B cells” and “T cells” – and which one of these the leukemia develops from determines the subtype of ALL. Sometimes people add “pre” or “precursor” to the subtype, but it’s just a slightly different naming convention for the same condition – for instance, “pre-B cell ALL” and “precursor B cell ALL” are the same as “B cell ALL”.