Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

The exact reasons that Leukemia develops are still unknown. Every day, research is proving to identify certain risk factors associated with the disease. Also, risk factors may be different for the different types of Leukemia. It is important to speak with your doctor if you have any of these common risks:

Chemical Exposure - Exposure to benzene at the workplace has been shown to increase a patient’s chance of developing Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Chemotherapy - Cancer patients treated with certain types of cancer-fighting drugs may develop Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It is important to consult with your doctor and discuss this risk factor.

Down Syndrome and Myelodysplastic Syndrome - Both Down Syndrome and Myelodysplastic Syndrome increase the risk of developing Acute Leukemia.

Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type I (HTLV-1) - People with HTLV-I infection are at increased risk of a rare type of leukemia known as adult T-cell leukemia.

Smoking - Smoking increases the risk of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Radiation - Patients exposed to high levels of radiation are much more likely to develop a form of Acute Leukemia. Exposure due to Radiation Therapy (to treat other forms of cancer) and Diagnostic X-Rays (such as dental and others) put people at risk.

Signs and Symptoms

Common symptoms of Chronic or Acute Leukemia may include:

- Bleeding easily

- Feeling weak or tired

- Fevers or night sweats

- Frequent infections

- Pain in the bones or joints

- Purplish patches in the skin or tiny red spots under the skin

- Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen

- Swollen lymph nodes

- Weight loss

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