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.
6565 Arlington Boulevard Suite 200 Falls Church, Virginia 22042
111 Michigan Avenue, NW Washington, District of Columbia 20010
Our leukemia and lymphoma team provides comprehensive treatments for your child, including chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and surgery.
Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases
Keep in touch with Children's National by signing up for our newsletters.
Debbie Freiburg is the Director for Medical Nursing and Patient and Family Education Program. She has been at Children's since 1978, joining the team as a staff nurse on the Hematology and Oncology unit.
Read More of Meet Debbie Freiburg
"Probably the only thing that could possibly be worse than a cancer diagnosis for yourself is hearing these words about your child."
When Joey was 10-years-old, he was sent to Children's National and diagnosed with leukemia. Today, Joey is 16-years-old and cancer-free. He is enjoying his junior year of high school and playing baseball.
"Take advantage of all of the resources available and the help that is out there. No one can do this alone. Get involved. Learn. Advocate for your child and never ever be afraid to ask questions."
"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."