Leukemia is a group of cancers of the blood affecting the white blood cells. White blood cells are the infection-fighting cells of the body.
In adults, leukemia is most common in people older than 55 years, with the average age of diagnosis being 66 years. It is also one of the most common cancers in children and adults younger than 20 years. The survival rate is higher for younger people. Read more: What Is the Life Expectancy of a Person With Leukemia? Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells in which the growth and development of the blood cells are abnormal. Strictly speaking, leukemia should refer only to cancer of the white blood cells (the leukocytes) but in practice it can apply to malignancy of any cellular element in the blood or bone marrow, as in red cell leukemia (erythroleukemia).
Cancer Risk Factors
Though it's difficult to say why some people develop cancer while others don't, research shows that certain risk factors increase a person's odds of developing cancer. These risk factors include growing older, family history of cancer, diet, alcohol and tobacco use, and exposure to sunlight, ionizing radiation, certain chemicals, and some viruses and bacteria.
How Does Leukemia Kill?
Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells of the bone marrow. Patients with leukemia have an over-production of a particular blood cell type in the body, the white blood cells (cells that fight infection, and provide immunity).
Cancer fatigue is a lack of energy that is caused by cancer or cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, or bone marrow transplantation. Strategies to combat cancer fatigue include scheduling rest, pacing oneself, planning ahead and prioritizing work and activities, eating the right foods, exercising, and practicing proper body mechanics.
Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. Symptoms and signs include fever, easy bruising, bone or joint pain, weakness, loss of appetite, and painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin. Treatment depends upon staging and may include chemotherapy, radiation, or stem cell transplant.
Certain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
Cancer pain results from the tumor pressing on nerves or invading bones or organs. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery can also cause pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, radiation, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques are just some treatments for cancer pain.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Leukemia FAQs
- Evolution of Treatment for a Rare Type of Leukemia
- Gleevec and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
- How Familes Cope with a Leukemia Diagnosis
- Coping with a Bad Disease - Community Counts
- A Family's Leukemia Diary - Coping
- Is Multiple Myeloma the Same as Leukemia?
- Does Folic Acid Prevent Leukemia?
- Can Folic Acid Prevent Leukemia?
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Prevention & Wellness
- FDA Approves Oral Treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Medicare to Cover Breakthrough Gene Therapy for Leukemia, Lymphoma
- Drug Duo May Be an Advance Against a Common Leukemia
- WWE Star Roman Reigns Battling Leukemia
- Novel Treatment Approved for 'Hairy Cell' Leukemia
- Tibsovo Approved for Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Blincyto Approval Expanded for Specific Leukemia
- Are You Sure That's What the Doctor Said About Your Leukemia?
- New Treatment Approved for Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Idhifa Approved for Some With Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Cancer Drug Helps Some Kids With Rare Type of Leukemia
- Rydapt Approved for Adults With Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Gleevec Keeps a Leukemia in Check for More Than a Decade: Study
- Gene Therapy Helps 2 Babies Fight Type of Leukemia
- Therapeutic Vaccine Shows 'Game-Changing' Promise Against a Leukemia
- Experimental Immune Cell Rx Shows Promise for Leukemia
- For Teens With Leukemia, Pregnancy Tests Often Neglected
- Cord-Blood Transplants Show Promise in Leukemia Treatment
- Antibody May Lower Rejection Rates After Stem Cell Transplant in Leukemia Patients
- Researchers Focus on Risk Factors for Leukemia After Breast Cancer Treatment
- Gene Editing Reverses Baby's Leukemia
- Social Factors Affect Leukemia Survival
- She Had Leukemia 7,000 Years Ago
- Could Common Diabetes Drugs Help Fight Leukemia?
- Another Genetic Error Linked to Childhood Leukemia