Leukemia is a cancer of the cells that form the blood that cause immature white blood cell form.
These abnormal cells are called leukemia blast which can not run the functions of normal white blood cells. They accumulate in the bone marrow and spill into the bloodstream and may spread to organs such as the liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys.
Sometimes, these cells may also spread into the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Because of too many white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow, bone marrow can not produce sufficient red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Causes of Leukemia
Several factors may influence the development of leukemia. Having one or more of the following factors does not mean you will get leukemia.
Genetic Factors: Children Down's syndrome and children who have other congenital abnormalities rarely have an increased risk of acute leukemia. Genetics may play a role in the development of chronic lymphoid leukemia. Chronic lymphoid leukemia is more common in men and maybe inherited in the families.
Radiation: Leukemia occurs at a higher rate than normal among people exposed to high radiation. This includes those who survived from the atomic bomb explosions in Japan, people who are exposed to radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, and those who received radiation in significant amounts which are necessary for the treatment of specific medical conditions in the past.
Chemicals: People who are exposed to benzene have a higher risk of acute myeloid leukemia.
Smoking: Smoking also increases the risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia.