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Leukemia Center

Leukemia Causes and Risk Factors

What causes leukemia?
No one knows the exact causes of leukemia - causes remain unclear. Most leukemias arise from non-inherited mutations (changes) in the genes of growing blood cells. Because these errors occur randomly and unpredictably, there is currently no effective way to prevent most types of leukemia.

Risk factors
Doctors seldom know why one person gets leukemia and another doesn't. In most cases, neither parents nor children have control over the factors that trigger leukemia, although current studies are looking into the possibility that some environmental factors may predispose a child to develop the disease. However, some research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will get this disease. These factors place you at an increased risk of developing some types of leukemia:

  • atomic bomb explosions
  • cancer therapy
  • certain blood disorders (Myelodysplastic syndrome)
  • certain inherited diseases (Down's syndrome)
  • diagnostic x-rays
  • exposure to benzene
  • family history of leukemia
  • radiation therapy
  • smoking

Do you know the early warning signs of leukemia?  To better understand the symptoms of this leukemia, continue reading here. The next section outlines the signs and symptoms of leukemia for those who think that they may be experiencing the condition.  Click here to learn to identify early symptoms of leukemia.

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