Leukemia is cancer caused by abnormal white blood cells. These cells are produced in bone marrow and normally help the body fight infection.
The most common type of leukemia in children is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In this disease, the body produces too many lymphoblasts (a type of white blood cell) and they become cancerous.
Medical experts don’t know the specific cause of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Some risk factors that may be involved include:
Common signs and symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia can occur in other illnesses. You should see your pediatrician if your child has any of the following:
If your pediatrician suspects that your child has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he or she will perform further tests to confirm a diagnosis:
Early treatment is important to ensure that your child can completely recover. Treatments that we recommend at Children’s National include:
Learn more about our Leukemia/Lymphoma Program at Children’s National.
111 Michigan Avenue, NW Washington, District of Columbia 20010
6565 Arlington Boulevard Suite 200 Falls Church, Virginia 22042
Our leukemia and lymphoma team provides comprehensive treatments for your child, including chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and surgery.
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"Our best advice is to take each episode as it comes, and you will get through them all! It may sound like a cliché, but you do learn to live one day at a time and to relish every small milestone in your child's life."
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Shana is an oncologist in the Leukemia/Lymphoma Program at Children's National.