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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming cells that affects both adults and children. Leukemia is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in children and adolescents, and often arises very rapidly over a short period of time (acute form). In adults, leukemia is more likely to take many years to develop (chronic form) and accounts for about 3% of all cancer diagnosed annually. Leukemias are further grouped according to the type of blood cell affected, with major subtypes including lymphocytic and myeloid types. The major childhood leukemias include acute lymphocytic and acute myeloid leukemia, whereas in adults, major subtypes include chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. The causes of leukemia are not well understood, but appear to involve a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.
About 40 new cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia were diagnosed in New Mexico year 2013. The causes of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia are not clear but most cases are not inherited.
The risk for developing acute lymphocytic leukemia is highest in children younger than 5 years of age. It is slightly more common in Whites than in African Americans and in men than in women.
Factors that may increase the risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia include:
  • Previous cancer treatment
  • Certain chemical exposures
  • Certain viral infections
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Genetic disorders
  • Having a brother or sister with acute lymphocytic leukemia
Currently, there is no proven method or steps to take to prevent acute lymphocytic leukemia. Avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation is important for the prevention of many types of cancer.
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Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:02 MDT