Leukemia is a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. It is a progressive disease in which the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature, or abnormal, white cells. The white cells suppress the production of normal blood cells, leading to anemia and other symptoms that can be life-threatening. Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost one in three cancers. Most childhood leukemias are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Most of the remaining cases are acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Chronic leukemias are rare in children.
The main treatment for most childhood leukemias is chemotherapy. For some children with higher-risk leukemias, high-dose chemotherapy may be given along with a stem cell transplant. Other treatments might also be used in special circumstances.
For more information, visit American Cancer Society