Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Leukemia Overview

What is leukemia?
A person with leukemia has cancer of the white blood cells. The white blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow, multiply out of control. This results in abnormally high numbers of white blood cells in the bloodstream. The type of leukemia is determined by the type of cell that is over-produced by the bone marrow. Childhood leukemia usually occurs between the ages of 3 and 7 years. In adults, leukemia is most common between the ages of 50 to 60 years old. The exact cause for leukemia is unknown, but inheritance may play a role in determining the risk for leukemia.

What are the symptoms of leukemia?
Common symptoms of leukemia include bone pain, abdominal pain, easy bleeding, fatigue, pale skin, weakness or fatigue, and lymph gland swelling.

How does the doctor treat leukemia?
Treatment for leukemia depends on the type of white blood cell that is over-produced by the bone marrow. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplant.

Continue to Leukemia Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Leukemia References
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  2. Elliott MA. Chronic neutrophilic leukemia: a contemporary review. Curr Hematol Rep. 2004 May;3(3):210-7. [15087070]
  3. Fulcher JW, Allred TJ, et al. Granular acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adults: report of a case and review of the literature. South Med J. 2006 Aug;99(8):894-7. [16929890]
  4. Gupta V, Tabak D, Keating A. Acute promyelocytic leukemia: a case-based review. Hematology. 2003 Apr;8(2):105-13. [12745660]
  5. Haferlach T, Kern W, Schnittger S, Schoch C. Modern diagnostics in acute leukemias. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2005 Nov;56(2):223-34.[16213152]
  6. Leopold LH, Willemze R. The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in first relapse: a comprehensive review of the literature. Leuk Lymphoma. 2002 Sep;43(9):1715-27. [12685823]
  7. Pui CH, Pei D, Sandlund JT, et al. Risk of adverse events after completion of therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov 1;23(31):7936-41. [16258093]
  8. Redaelli A, Botteman MF, Stephens JM, Brandt S, Pashos CL. Economic burden of acute myeloid leukemia: a literature review. Cancer Treat Rev. 2004 May;30(3):237-47. [15059647]
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