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Leukemia Prevention

Can Leukemia Be Prevented?

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Updated June 02, 2006

Unfortunately, most cases of leukemia cannot be prevented. We have yet to identify real, known causes and risk factors for leukemia, so preventing leukemia is not really possible at this time.

Researchers have identified a few risk factors for certain types of leukemia:

  • Cigarette smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, now is the time to quit. Smoking puts you at risk for many types of cancer, including acute myelogenous leukemia. 1 in every 4 cases of AML is linked to smoking.
  • Exposure to benzene. Benzene is a chemical by product of coal and petroleum. It is used mainly is gasoline, however is contained in other things such as paints, solvents, plastics, pesticides and detergents. People who work in the manufacturing of these products may be putting themselves at risk for leukemia.
  • Previous chemotherapy or radiation treatment. People who have been treated for other types of cancer with chemotherapy and radiation therapy have a slightly increased risk factor for developing leukemia.
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