- Leukemia facts*
- What is leukemia?
- What are the types of leukemia?
- Who is at risk for leukemia?
- What are symptoms of leukemia?
- How is leukemia diagnosed?
- How is leukemia treated?
- How does someone get a second opinion about leukemia treatment?
- What happens after treatment for leukemia?
- How important is nutrition and physical activity for leukemia patients?
- What sort of follow-up care do leukemia patients need?
- What are some sources of support?
- What research is being done for leukemia?
- What resources are available to patients with leukemia?
- Take the Leukemia Quiz!
- Cancer Prevention Slideshow
- Cancer Symptoms Women Ignore
- Leukemia FAQs
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
*Leukemia facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
- Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells.
- While the exact cause(s) of leukemia is not known, risk factors have been identified.
- Common symptoms of chronic or acute leukemia may include pain in the bones or joints, swollen lymph nodes that usually don't hurt, fevers or night sweats, feeling weak or tired, bleeding and bruising easily, frequent infections, swelling or discomfort in the abdomen, and weight loss or loss of appetite
- Leukemias are grouped by how quickly the disease develops (acute or chronic) as well as by the type of blood cell that is affected (lymphocytes or myelocytes). The four main types of leukemia include acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), acute myelocytic leukemia (AML), and chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML).
- People with leukemia are at significantly increased risk for developing infections, anemia, and bleeding. Other symptoms and signs include easy bruising, weight loss, night sweats, and unexplained fevers.
- The diagnosis of leukemia is supported by findings of the medical history and examination, and examining blood and bone marrow samples under a microscope.
- Treatment of leukemia depends on the type of leukemia, certain features of the leukemia cells, the extent of the disease, and prior history of treatment, as well as the age and health of the patient.
- Most patients with leukemia are treated with chemotherapy. Some patients also may have radiation therapy and/or bone marrow transplantation.
- There is no known way to prevent leukemia.
- The prognosis of leukemia depends upon several factors, including the patient's age, the type of leukemia, and the extent to which the cancer has spread.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2014
Next: What is leukemia?
Find out what women really need.