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Leukemia
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Leukemia

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Risk factors 

These factors place you at an increased risk of developing some types of leukemia:

  • Cancer therapy. People who've had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other cancers have a slightly greater risk of developing certain types of leukemia many years later.

  • Genetics. Genetic abnormalities seem to play a role in the development of leukemia. Certain genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome, are associated with increased risk of leukemia.

  • Exposure to radiation and certain chemicals. People exposed to very high levels of radiation, such as survivors of an atomic bomb blast or a nuclear reactor accident, have an increased risk of developing leukemia. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene — which is found in unleaded gasoline, tobacco smoke and the chemical industry — is also linked to greater risk of some kinds of leukemia.

However, most people with known risk factors don't get leukemia. And many people with leukemia have none of these risk factors.

When to seek medical advice 

Persistent fatigue, weight loss, easy bruising and bleeding, swollen lymph glands, and fever are possible indications of leukemia. If you have these symptoms, see your doctor to determine the underlying cause.

Screening and diagnosis 

Doctors often find chronic leukemia in a routine blood test, before symptoms begin. If this happens, or if you or your child has symptoms that suggest leukemia, you may undergo the following diagnostic exams:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will look for physical signs of leukemia, such as swelling of your lymph nodes, liver and spleen.

  • Blood tests. By looking at a sample of your blood, your doctor can determine if you have abnormal levels of white blood cells or platelets — which are both suggestive indicators of leukemia.

  • Bone marrow sample. If your doctor suspects leukemia, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in cancer (oncologist) or a doctor who specializes in blood (hematologist). This specialist can use a needle to remove a sample of your bone marrow to look for leukemia cells.

Additional tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the type of leukemia and its extent in your body. Certain types of leukemia are classified into stages, indicating the severity of the disease. Staging helps your doctor determine a treatment plan.

 

Leukemia > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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