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4043 What-is-Leukemia

What is Leukemia?

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood forming tissues including the lymphatic system and the bone marrow. There are many types of Leukaemia, some that are more common in children and other forms that occur mostly in adults. Doctors and scientists don't understand the exact causes of leukaemia but they propose that they seem to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

The symptoms of Leukemia vary depending on the type of Leukaemia. The common signs include:

• Persistent weakness and fatigue
• Chills and fever
• Weight-loss without trying
• Enlarged liver, spleen or swollen lymph nodes
• Small red spots on the skin
• Easy bruising and bleeding
• Extreme sweating especially at night
• Bone tenderness or pain
• Frequent infections

The factors that may increase one's risk of developing some types of Leukemia include:

• Previous cancer treatments including certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
• Blood disorders such as myleodysplastic syndromes
• Smoking increases one's risk of acute myelogenous Leukemia
• Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome
• Exposure to very high levels of radiation
• Exposure to certain chemicals such as benzene found in gasoline that is used in chemical industries
• A family history of Leukemia

Nevertheless, most individuals with known risk factors don't get Leukemia and many people with Leukemia have none of these factors.

See your doctor, if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that bother you as Leukemia symptoms are often quite vague and not specific. Hence, you may overlook early signs because they resemble symptoms of flu and other common illnesses.

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