Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

What Causes Leukemia?

Friday, 10 September 2010 08:45 AM

Question: What is the cause of leukemia, and what is the prognosis for a cure? I was diagnosed with the disease but have no symptoms.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Leukemia is a malignant or cancerous condition of blood cell lines that is caused by the unrestrained growth of bone marrow cells. There are different types which tend to vary in aggressiveness.

We generally have excellent success with multidrug therapy for treatment of acute leukemias, but it is most effective early in the disease. Some chronic leukemias grow so slowly that observation alone may be sufficient. Some patients require ablation of their bone marrow cell lines to clear their leukemia followed by bone marrow transplantation.

The major problems leukemic patients face is related to opportunistic infections that can complicate treatment. Since each type of leukemia is different, it is hard to discuss more without knowing which type you have.

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