At this time, we do not know what causes leukemia. Researchers
are trying to solve this problem. Scientists know that leukemia
occurs in males more often than in females. It occurs in white
people more often than in black people. However, they cannot
explain why one person gets leukemia and another does not.
Researchers have found certain risk factors that increase a
person's risk of getting leukemia.
Exposure to large amounts of high-energy radiation increases the
risk of getting leukemia. Such radiation was produced by the atomic
bomb explosions in Japan during World War II. In nuclear power
plants, strict safety rules protect workers and the public from
exposure to harmful amounts of radiation.
Some research suggests that exposure to electromagnetic fields
is a possible risk factor for leukemia. (Electromagnetic fields are
a type of low-energy radiation that comes from power lines and
electric appliances.) However, more studies are needed to prove
Certain genetic conditions can increase the risk for leukemia.
One such condition is
. Children born with this
syndrome are more likely to get leukemia than other children.
Exposure to chemicals
Workers exposed to certain chemicals over a long period of time
are at higher risk for leukemia. Benzene is one of these chemicals.
Also, some of the drugs used to treat other types of cancer may
increase a person's risk of getting leukemia. However, this risk is
very small when compared with the benefits of chemotherapy.
Scientists have identified a virus that seems to increase the
risk for one very uncommon type of leukemia. However, this virus
has no known association with common forms of leukemia. Scientists
throughout the world continue to study viruses and other possible
risk factors for leukemia. By learning what causes this disease,
researchers hope to better understand how to prevent and treat
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a