Although the exact cause of leukemia is not known, there are certain factors that may increase an individual’s risk of developing some types of leukemia. These include:
- Previous cancer treatment: People who’ve had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other cancer types are at an increased risk of developing certain types of leukemia.
- Genetic disorders: Genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome seem to play a role in the development of leukemia.
- Exposure to chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals is often linked to an increased risk of some kinds of leukemia.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.
- Family history of leukemia: If members of your family have been diagnosed with leukemia, your risk of the disease may be increased.
However, most people with known risk factors don’t get leukemia. And many people with leukemia have none of these risk factors.