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- What is leukaemia (leukemia)?
- Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
- Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
- Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
- Symptoms of leukaemia (leukemia)
- Causes of leukaemia (leukemia)
- Diagnosis of leukaemia (leukemia)
- Treatment for leukaemia (leukemia)
- After leukaemia (leukemia) treatment
- How we can help
Leukaemia (sometimes spelt as leukemia) is a cancer of the blood cells. If you have leukaemia, your body makes some abnormal blood cells. These leukaemia cells behave differently from healthy blood cells.
Different types of leukaemia are named according to:
- the type of blood cell which is affected
- whether the leukaemia is acute (faster growing) or chronic (slower growing).
Chronic leukaemias develop slowly and many people have no symptoms in the early stages. It may be discovered by chance after a routine blood test.
Acute leukaemias are more likely to cause symptoms that appear over a few weeks, and people often feel ill quite quickly.
We have more information about possible symptoms of symptoms of leukaemia.
Doctors do not know the exact causes of leukaemia. But there are risk factors that can increase your chance of developing it.
Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will get leukaemia. Also, having no risk factors does not mean you will not develop leukaemia.
We have more information about the risk factors and causes of leukaemia.
Some people are diagnosed with leukaemia after being taken to hospital with symptoms that have developed quickly. Others go to see their GP about symptoms. If it is possible you have leukaemia, you will see a doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating blood problems. This doctor is called a haematologist.
Tests to diagnose leukaemia include:
We have more information about these and any other tests you may have to diagnose leukaemia.
A team of specialists will meet to discuss the best possible treatment for you. This is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT).
Your doctor or specialist nurse will explain the different treatments and their side effects. They will also talk to you about things to consider when making treatment decisions.
If you have an acute leukaemia you will usually need to start treatment as soon as possible. You will have some treatment as an inpatient in hospital. This can mean being in hospital for a few weeks at a time. If you have a chronic leukaemia you can usually have treatment as an outpatient. You may not need to start treatment straight away.
We have more information about: