What Causes Leukemia?

In order to hopefully treat and prevent recurrence of leukemia we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow leukemia to develop?"

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  • let The Analyst™ find what's wrong
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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind leukemia consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to leukemia.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Increased Folic Acid Need
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
recent light tobacco smoking
macrocytic red cells
smoking under 2 cigarettes per day
H2-blocker antacid use
regular hangnails
secondhand smoke exposure
minor mouth sores
low folic acid level
recently quitting smoking
reduced sense of smell
current birth control pill use
... and so on

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of leukemia:
Cause Probability Status
Cigarette Smoke Damage 93% Confirm
Increased Folic Acid Need 57% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate cancer, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Have you suffered from any type of Leukemia?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
→ Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
→ Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
→ Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate having acute lymphoblastic leukemia, having acute myeloid leukemia, having chronic lymphocytic leukemia or having chronic myeloid leukemia, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Cigarette Smoke Damage

Cigarette smoking is associated with increased risk for leukemia and may lead to leukemias of specific morphologic and chromosomal types.  The association varies with age.  In one study, smoking was associated with only a modest increase in overall risk for leukemia, but among participants aged 60 and older, smoking was associated with a twofold increase in risk for AML and a threefold increase in risk for ALL.  Among older persons, risks increased with amount and duration of smoking. [J Natl Cancer Inst. 1993 Dec 15;85(24): pp.1994-2003]

Folic Acid Deficiency

Maternal folic acid supplementation during pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children in a study in Western Australia. [Lancet 2001;358(9297): pp.1935-40]

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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