Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of blood cells. About 30,000 new cases of leukemia in the United States are reported each year. Most cases occur in older adults, though leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer.
Leukemia is either acute or chronic. In acute leukemia, the abnormal blood cells remain immature and cannot carry out their normal functions. The number of these cells increases rapidly, and the disease gets worse quickly. In chronic leukemia, some abnormal cells are present, but in general, these cells are more mature and can carry out some of their normal functions. Also, the number of abnormal cells increases less rapidly than in acute leukemia. As a result, chronic leukemia worsens gradually.
For more information on leukemia, visit University of Minnesota Physicians Cancer Care at Fairview
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