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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

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

Detecting Leukemia

If your physician suspects leukemia, he or she may perform a series of tests including:

  • Complete blood counts
  • Bone marrow examination
  • Cytogenetic studies
  • Immunophenotyping 

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