Leukemia is a cancer of the blood caused by an increase in the number of white blood cells in your body. When your body produces more white blood cells than red, it affects your ability to defend against infection. This cancer is often thought of as a children’s condition, however, it is much more prevalent in adults. Today, there are more than 360,000 men, women and children living with, or in remission from leukemia in the United States.

Causes of leukemia

Approximately 30,000 adults and 2,000 children are diagnosed with leukemia each year in the United States. Although the exact cause remains unknown, there are certain risk factors that increase your risk of developing leukemia in your lifetime:

  • Smoking
    Cigarette smoking is linked to a 30 percent increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia.
  • X-rays and CT scans
    While the occasional X-ray or CT scan isn’t enough to cause leukemia, numerous X-rays and scans throughout childhood may increase your risk of developing leukemia later in life.
  • Exposure to radiation
    Though moderate use is safe, prolonged or over-exposure to low levels of radiation can increase your risk for developing three types of leukemia: Acute myeloid, chronic myeloid and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Radiation therapy
    Extensive radiation therapy (often used to treat benign breast, prostate, or skin tumors) can increase your risk of developing leukemia.
  • Benzene exposure
    Regular exposure to benzene, a substance commonly used in the chemical industry and gasoline, has been linked to acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Inherited diseases and conditions
    Certain medical conditions like myelodysplastic syndrome (a blood disorder), human T-cell leukemia virus type I and Down syndrome can increase your risk of developing leukemia.
  • Chemotherapy
    Unfortunately, this popular cancer-fighting drug therapy can raise your risk of developing leukemia following treatments.

For compassionate, caring leukemia treatment in East Texas, contact HOPE Cancer Center of East Texas at 903.592.6152.