What are the risk factors for leukemia?

The main risk factor for leukemia is exposure to high levels of radiation or certain chemicals. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer treatment
  • Using immunosuppressants after an organ transplant
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome and Fanconi anemia
  • Family history of CLL

What can you do to prevent leukemia?

Doctors do not know yet if there is a way to prevent leukemia. It is not possible to prevent it by avoiding risk factors – you can develop the condition with no known risk factors, or you can have one or more risk factors and never develop leukemia.

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