Put simply, leukemia is cancer of the blood. Although it can affect just about any component of your blood, the ones usually affected are the white blood cells or WBCs.

Those WBCs of yours, just like what’s recently said, are components of your blood such as platelets and red blood cells or RBCs. However, your WBCs are also major role players in having your body safeguarded from disease-causing microbes such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, abnormal cells and foreign substances — WBCs, in other words, are an integral part of your immune system.

This article will focus on the risk factors for leukemia. When we say risk factors, these are things that can increase your likelihood of developing health problems. So in other words, a risk factor for leukemia can be anything that can increase your chance of suffering from leukemia.

Before we proceed with checking out those risk factors, there’s something important you need to know: just because you have the risk factors found below doesn’t mean right away that you should brace yourself for a battle against leukemia one day. Also, just because you have no risk factor for leukemia doesn’t mean that you will not develop the blood cancer in the future.

Let’s now take a look at some of the risk factors for leukemia:

Gender

Some of the risk factors for leukemia can be changed. Unfortunately, others cannot be changed. One of those leukemia risk factors that you cannot do something about is gender. According to health professionals, being male can increase a person’s likelihood of suffering from leukemia.

Age

One more risk factor that cannot be altered is a person’s age. Just like with most other types of cancer out there, a person’s odds of having leukemia increases the older he or she gets. However, there is a type of leukemia that can affect children, and it’s what’s referred to as acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL.

Family History

Just like with many other cancer types, leukemia can be passed by a parent to his or her offspring. According to doctors, there are certain genes that may be inherited that are known to increase your likelihood of developing leukemia. If you have a first-degree family member who is diagnosed with the blood cancer, you are at risk of developing it, too.

Smoking

If you are as smoker, you definitely know the health dangers that may come your way. One of the most serious problems that you may encounter sooner or later as a result of cigarette smoking is leukemia. Smoking is also regarded as a risk factor for many other types of cancer as well as various medical conditions.

Radiation

Being exposed to high levels of radiation can increase your risk of suffering from all kinds of cancer one day, and one of those is leukemia. Atomic bomb explosions, nuclear reactor mishaps and even radiation from magnetic fields such as power lines can put a person at higher risk of developing leukemia.

Chemicals

According to doctors, long-term exposure to certain types of chemicals can increase your likelihood of ending up with leukemia in the future. Some examples of those include benzene and formaldehyde. You can be exposed to leukemia-triggering chemicals at the workplace or simply by using products that contain them.

Obesity

There are many health complications associated with being obese or overweight, and the development of certain types of cancer is included. Numerous studies have linked leukemia to being obese or overweight. However, more investigations need to be done in order to determine if a person’s weight can in fact be blamed for leukemia development.

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