- White blood cells (WBC), also called lymphocytes, are most often involved in leukemia. Their main job is to help the immune system.
- Red blood cells (RBC) carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Platelets help the blood clot at injury sites.
|White Blood Cells|
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- Exposure to some environmental and chemical factors such as:
- Having a sibling, especially an identical twin, who develops leukemia
- Having a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, ataxia-telangiectasia, neurofibromatosis, or Fanconi anemia
- Bleeding or bruising—may appear as tiny red spots
- Recurrent infections—may have fever, chills, and a cough
- Bone and joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss, loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes, swelling of the liver or spleen
- Difficulty breathing
- Rash, gum problems
- Weakness and fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased energy
- Blood tests
- Bone marrow biopsy —a sample of bone marrow is removed to test for cancer cells
- Antibiotics to treat infections
- Blood transfusion to treat severe anemia or bleeding
- Biological therapy uses medication or substances made by the body to increase the body’s natural ability to fight cancer.
- Certain medication or therapies may also be used to help manage the side effects of treatment.
- During treatment and recovery your child may need to take steps to avoid infections. Treatments and the cancer can weaken the immune system and make the child more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada http://www.llscanada.org
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 17, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2013.
Acute myeloid leukemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 17, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2013.
Childhood cancers. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/childhoodcancers. Accessed June 19, 2013.
Childhood leukemia. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003095-pdf.pdf. Accessed June 19, 2013.
Leukemia. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.lls.org/diseaseinformation/leukemia. Accessed June 19, 2013.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -