Leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, accounts for almost 30% of the various cancers which is diagnosed in children below 15 years. It is cancer of where abnormal white blood cell is formed in the bone marrow and these cells quickly moves through the blood stream and destroys the healthy cells.
It is really a shocking fact that although medical science has advanced so much, but is far from understanding the real cause of Leukemia.The doctors and researchers are trying hard to find the actual reason in order to get the accurate treatment of this life taking disease. Epidemiologic studies have examined the major risk factors of acute Leukemia in children which includes genetic, environmental and infectious factors. Very few risk factors are known for child Leukemia, as in most cases the reasons are not identified.
The Known Factors
As childhood Leukemia is very rare, it is difficult to conduct the studies but still the few known risk factors related to it are listed for your understanding:
Genetic Risk Factors
It is related to your DNA which carries your genes. The researchers have identified how specific changes in DNA can lead the bone marrow stem cells to develop into the disease. No one but, you as a parent may have passed on these changes to your child without being aware of it. It is often inherited. The risk of Leukemia increases in your child if your child has the following :
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Klinefelter and Down Syndrome – genetic disorder
- Ataxia Telangiectasia-inherited immune system abnormality
- Brother or Sister, especially the identical twins, suffering from Leukemia.
Environmental Risk Factors
The things around you, like radiation and exposure to certain chemicals increase the chances of getting affected by Leukemia.A high-level radiation may affect the fetus if it is exposed to the radiation in the early months of your pregnancy. Lower level radiations from X-ray may not be so harmful but to be safe, doctors hardly recommend such tests for small children and pregnant women.
Exposure to chemo at early stage may lead to cancer later. Even exposure to benzene may lead to cancer in children although the chances are rare. Exposure to pesticides used for household, during pregnancy or early stage of childhood, may also lead to childhood Leukemia.
Weak Immune System
If your child is taking drugs to suppress the immune system because of any organ transplant, then there is a high chance of certain cancers.
A thorough survey has pointed out that childhood Leukemia may be the result of both genetic and environmental factors in combination.