Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissues, which include bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen. Though it is the chief cause of death from disease in children ages three to fourteen, leukemia is more common in adults. When leukemia strikes, abnormal white cells multiply uncontrollably, outnumbering the normal white blood cells, which fight infection. Fatigue is the most common symptom. This may be accompanied by other signs, such as weight loss, anemia, fever, pain in the bones and joints, and easy bruising and bleeding. However, there are often no early warning signs. The most common treatment for leukemia is chemotherapy, which may be supported by transfusions of blood components and antibiotics. Radiation therapy is sometimes used in combination with anti-cancer drugs, and bone marrow transplantation is used in certain cases. A regular health checkup is your best defense against leukemia and other cancers. For more information about leukemia, contact your health care provider.
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