DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Leukemia is cancer of the body's blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system.
Many types of leukemia exist. Some forms of leukemia are more common in children. Other forms of leukemia occur mostly in adults.
Leukemia usually involves the white blood cells. Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters — they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don't function properly.
Treatment for leukemia can be complex — depending on the type of leukemia and other factors. But there are strategies and resources that can help to make your treatment successful.
Jan. 28, 2016
- What you need to know about leukemia. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/wyntk-leukemia. Accessed March 11, 2015.
- Understanding leukemia. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. http://www.lls.org/resourcecenter/freeeducationmaterials/leukemia/understandingleukemia. Accessed March 11, 2015.
- Taking time: Support for people with cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/taking-time. Accessed March 11, 2015.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 11, 2015.
- Mesa RA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. March 11, 2015.