Leukemia: Overview

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow tissues that produce white blood cells. Too many white blood cells are created. The type of leukemia depends on which type of white blood cell is being over-created (i.e. lymphocytes vs granulocytes) and whether it is acute or chronic. The cause of leukemia is not always apparent, but some links have been found to certain viruses, chemicals, radiation, and certain pre-disposing genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome. Treatment depends greatly on the type and severity of the leukemia, ranging from minor watchful treatment for some slow-developing chronic forms to chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants in severe cases. Prognosis is variable, with cause for hope, and cause for concern. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment is vital for some forms of leukemia; see your doctor immediately if there is any suspicion of leukemia.

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