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Definition of Leukemia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Leukemia: Cancer of the blood cells. Strictly speaking, leukemia should refer only to cancer of the white blood cells (leukocytes), but in practice it can apply to malignancy of any cellular element in the blood or bone marrow, as in red cell leukemia (erythroleukemia). Treatment may involve chemo'therapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, and/or bone marrow transplantation. Also spelled leucemia. See also accelerated phase of leukemia; leukemia, blastic phase of; leukemia, chronic phase of; leukemia, hairy cell; leukemia, lymphocytic; leukemia, myeloid; leukemia, refractory; myelodysplastic syndrome.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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