Leukemia is a form of cancer that affects blood-related tissues such as the lymphatic system and bone marrow. There are different types of leukemia, some of which commonly afflict children and others seen almost exclusively in adults. The risk factors for leukemia include family history of the disease, smoking, genetic disorders, blood disorders, previous cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, and exposure to high levels of radiation. Any of these factors can increase your risk of getting leukemia, but the disease can strike anyone whose white blood cells begin to malfunction. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is the most common form of the disease and occurs in both adults and children. This is a sudden onset type of leukemia and symptoms can quickly become severe. AML has a 26.9 percent survival rate over five years. Treatment is most successful if the disease is diagnosed quickly.
Leukemia in adults is often misdiagnosed as stress or the flu, leading to late diagnosis and treatment, and a greater risk of complications. If you notice a combination of the following symptoms you should seek medical treatment and have blood tests done as soon as possible. There are a few other less common symptoms of leukemia that people should look out for such as excessive sweating at night, red spots or petechiae on the skin, bone pain or tenderness, enlargement of the liver or spleen, and swollen lymph nodes that aren't painful.
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