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CBS' Ed Bradley Dies of Leukemia

Bradley, 65, Was 60 Minutes Journalist for 26 Years
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 9, 2006 -- CBS newsman Ed Bradley died of leukemia in New York this morning. He was 65.

Bradley worked for CBS for 35 years and was a reporter on the CBS newsmagazine, 60 Minutes, for 26 of those years.

Details of Bradley's illness -- including the type of leukemia he had and when he was diagnosed -- were not immediately made public.

Leukemia is a cancer that begins in the blood cells. Its exact cause is not known.

About Leukemia

There are four common types of the disease:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia: About 11,930 new cases expected this year in the U.S.; affects adults and children.
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia: About 4,600 new cases estimated for this year; mainly affects adults.
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia: About 3,900 new cases expected this year; mainly in young children, but can affect adults.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: About 9,700 cases expected this year; usually seen in people over 55.

Common leukemia symptoms include:

  • Fevers or night sweats
  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Headache
  • Easy bleeding and bruising
  • Pain in bones or joints
  • Swelling or discomfort in abdomen (from enlarged spleen)
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck or armpit
  • Weight loss

Such symptoms aren't sure signs of leukemia. Only a doctor can diagnose the disease.

Leukemia symptoms may be acute, meaning they start suddenly and worsen quickly. Or they can be chronic, starting mildly and worsening gradually.

Treatment depends on the type and extent of the disease and can include chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplantation.

Doctors often can't say why one person gets cancer and another doesn't. But several risk factors have been tied to leukemia, including:

  • Exposure to very high levels of radiation
  • Working with certain chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde
  • Chemotherapy
  • Down syndrome and certain other genetic diseases
  • Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV-1), which causes a rare type of chronic leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disease that makes acute myeloid leukemia more likely.
  • Smoking and tobacco use

Most people who get leukemia do not have any risk factors. Leukemia does not usually run in families. But in very rare cases this can happen with chronic myeloid leukemia.

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