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Leukemia Causes

Male physician assessing a female patientScientists have not yet identified indisputable leukemia causes, although a combination of genetic and environmental factors seem to play a role in the onset of the disease. Some people who are diagnosed with leukemia have been exposed to multiple risk factors, while some have not. These risk factors only mean that the possibility of developing leukemia is higher and precaution should be taken if any signs or symptoms develop.

With leukemia, the causes are not absolute and vary depending on the type of leukemia, but generally include:

  • Age – Children younger than 15 and adults older than 50 are more at risk to develop acute lymphocytic leukemia, whereas acute myeloid leukemia is most often diagnosed after the age of 65.
  • Race – T-Cell lymphocytic leukemia is most common in people of Japanese, West Indian, and African descent.
  • Gender – Men more often develop chronic lymphocytic leukemia than women.
  • Genetic disorders – Having Down syndrome and other genetic disorders are risk factors to certain types of leukemia, such as acute myeloid and acute lymphocytic.
  • Exposure to radiation and chemicals – People who have been exposed to high levels of radiation are at a greater risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia has also been linked to the exposure of Agent Orange, a chemical used during the Vietnam War.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with leukemia, Tampa General Hospital is fully equipped to provide specialized and personalized treatment. Our team of cancer specialists, which includes radiation oncologists, surgeons, and other cancer professionals, are highly trained and experienced on various treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy, inpatient and outpatient radiation therapy, infusion service (such as blood exchanges and apheresis), and surgical intervention.

The dedicated staff within TGH’s Hematology/Oncology Clinic is trained to deliver the best possible treatment and care. For a physician referral, please call (813) 844-2200 or use our Physician Finder tool.