Leukemia Facts

Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. Leukemic cells look different than normal cells and do not function properly. Learn More ›

Symptoms: Leukemia

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia

  • Achiness in the joints and bones

  • Anemia

  • Enlarged liver and glands, such as the spleen and lymph nodes  

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent infections

  • Loss of appetite

  • Night sweats

  • Ongoing low-grade fever

  • Pale skin or pallor

  • Shortness of breath

  • Slow healing of wounds

  • Weight loss

  • Certain blood disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Certain types of chemotherapy
  • Chemotherapy and cancer therapy at a young age
  • Exposure to certain chemicals such as benzene
  • Exposure to large amounts of radiation
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Treatment: Leukemia Treatment Introduction

Treatment for leukemia depends on the type of leukemia a person has. It also depends on whether the patient has been treated for leukemia before. A doctor also considers the patient's age, symptoms, personal preferences, and general health when making recommendations for a treatment plan.

It is important that a person who is diagnosed with leukemia be treated at a center with doctors and nurses experienced in treating leukemia. If this is not possible, the patient's doctor should discuss the patient's treatment plan with a specialist.

Many patients want to learn all they can about their disease and their treatment choices so that they can take an active part in decisions about their care. They are likely to have many questions and concerns about their treatment options. Most patients want to know how they will function after treatment and whether they will have to change their normal activities. The doctor is the best person to answer a patient's questions, such as what treatment choices are, how successful it is expected to be and what the risks and side effects may be.

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Living With: Leukemia Risk Factors

Certain factors can make one person more likely to get leukemia than another person. These are called risk factors. Although such risk factors do exist, a person who has one or more risk factors will not necessarily get leukemia. In fact, a person can have all the risk factors and still not get leukemia, or he or she can have no known risk factors and still get the disease.

Some risk factors, such as having a rare inherited disease, are out of a person's control. Other risk factors, such as smoking, are lifestyle choices a person can control. The following are known risk factors for leukemia:

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Your Guide to Leukemia

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