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Reducing Your Risk of Leukemia

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
 
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A risk factor increases your chances of developing cancer. Modifying the following risk factors may help reduce your risk of leukemia.

Avoid Exposure to Certain Environmental and Chemical Factors

Exposure to the chemical benzene increases your risk of leukemia. If you work in an industry where you are exposed to benzene, research how to best protect yourself from exposure to the chemicals you’ll be around. Check with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or the Environmental Protection Agency about any available protective guidelines.

Radiation as well as certain types of chemotherapy drugs (melphalan, mechlorethamine, and other drugs called alkylating agents) can also increase your risk of this disease. Chronic, daily oral administration of these agents is more likely to cause leukemia than higher doses given sporadically or intermittently. If you need to receive these treatments for another cancer, discuss the risks with your doctor and set up regular monitoring for the development of leukemia.

If You Smoke, Stop

Smokers over age 60 are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop acute myeloid leukemia.

For information on how to stop smoking, click here .

Sources:

National Cancer Institute

American Cancer Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society



Last reviewed February 2003 by John Erban, MD

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 medical condition.

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