Approximately every four minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis can be devastating, particularly for a child. If you or your child has been diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukemia, you are not alone. Norton Cancer Institute is here to provide you with the support, resources and treatment you need.
Leukemia is a malignant cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects thousands of children and adults in the United States. Leukemia develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow uncontrollably. Acute leukemia progresses quickly while chronic leukemia develops more slowly.
Acute leukemia is more prevalent than chronic leukemia and it strikes adults more than children. However, leukemia is the most common form of cancer in children.
Experts are unsure what causes leukemia to develop. There has been some association with chronic exposure to benzene in the workplace and exposure to very high doses of radiation. People who have had previous cancer treatment with chemotherapy or radiation may also be at greater risk for certain types of leukemia.
Signs and Symptoms of Leukemia
According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, many people with chronic leukemia do not have major symptoms. Signs of acute leukemia may include:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Paleness or fatigue
- Recurrent minor infections
- Poor healing of minor cuts
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Swollen gums
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Small pinpoint rash
If your physician suspects leukemia, he or she may perform a series of tests including:
- Complete blood counts
- Bone marrow examination
- Cytogenetic studies