Super Eagles and Wolverhampton Wanderers mercurial goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, has been diagnosed with acute leukemia, his club announced on Thursday.
“It is with great sadness that Wolves can today reveal that Carl Ikeme has been diagnosed with acute leukaemia,” Wolves said in a statement on its website.
The 31-year-old Nigerian international returned some abnormal blood tests during his pre-season testing and a further medical investigation has revealed he is suffering from leukaemia.
The club said the goalie would start an immediate course of chemotherapy as he begins a lengthy battle against the disease.
“It would be an understatement to say that everyone at Wolves has been shocked and saddened to hear the news of Carl’s diagnosis,” said Wolves’ Managing Director Laurie Dalrymple.
Thousands of Nigerians have taken to various social media channels to initiate prayers for his recovery since the story of the diagnosis broke out. The national team had been troubled with a quality goalkeeper since injury hit Ikeme. With his recovery from and discovery of this disease, it is like a pall was laid on the nation in view of some critical matches lined up ahead of the national team.
Leukemia is a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.
The exact cause of leukemia is unknown. Different kinds of leukemia are believed to have different causes. Both inherited and environmental (non-inherited) factors are believed to be involved. Risk factors include smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals (such as benzene), prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome. People with a family history of leukemia are also at higher risk. There are four main types of leukemia — acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) — as well as a number of less common types. Leukemias and lymphomas both belong to a broader group of tumours that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid system, known as tumours of the hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues.
Treatment may involve some combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and bone marrow transplant, in addition to supportive care and palliative care as needed. Certain types of leukemia may be managed with watchful waiting. The success of treatment depends on the type of leukemia and the age of the person. Outcomes have improved in the developed world. The average five-year survival rate is 57% in the United States. In children under 15, the five-year survival rate is greater than 60 to 85%, depending on the type of leukemia. In children with acute leukemia who are cancer-free after five years, the cancer is unlikely to return.
In 2015, leukemia was present in 2.3 million people and caused 353,500 deaths. In 2012 it newly developed in 352,000 people. It is the most common type of cancer in children, with three quarters of leukemia cases in children being the acute lymphoblastic type. However, about 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults, with AML and CLL being most common in adults. It occurs more commonly in the developed world.