Childhood leukemia, the most common type of cancer in children and teens, is a cancer of the white blood cells. Abnormal white blood cells form in the bone marrow. They quickly travel through the bloodstream and crowd out healthy cells. This increases the body's chances of infection and other problems.
As tough as it is for a child to have cancer, it's good to know that most children and teens with childhood leukemia can be successfully treated.
Bone marrow is a spongy material inside your bones where your body makes and stores blood cells. When it’s damaged, it makes too few blood cells and not enough cells for your immune system.
A transplant replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy marrow cells. It can cure certain diseases or some types of cancer. It also means a long recovery process and a risk of serious side effects. If you’re thinking about having one, talk with your doctor about all the pros and cons of the transplant.
Doctors don't know exactly what causes most cases of childhood leukemia. But certain factors may increase the chances of getting it. Keep in mind, though, that having a risk factor does not necessarily mean a child will get leukemia. In fact, most children with leukemia don't have any known risk factors.
The risk for childhood leukemia increases if your child has: