The specific causes of leukemia are unknown to scientists. It appears to be the result of a mix of hereditary and environmental influences.
How can leukemia develop?
Leukemia is considered to develop when the genetic material or DNA of certain blood cells undergoes alterations (mutations). The DNA of a cell carries the instructions that tell it what to do. Normally, the cell’s DNA directs it to grow at a specific rate and die at a specific time. The mutations in leukemia signal the blood cells to keep growing and dividing. Blood cell production becomes uncontrollable as a result of this. These aberrant cells can crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow over time, resulting in less healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, which causes leukemia symptoms.
The Blood cancer, also known as hematological cancer or hematopoietic cancer, refers to a group of cancers that affect the production and function of blood cells. The exact causes of blood cancer are not fully understood, but several factors have been identified as potential contributors. Here are some possible causes and risk factors associated with blood cancer:
Genetic mutations: Certain genetic mutations can increase the risk of developing blood cancer. These mutations can occur spontaneously or be inherited from parents. For example, mutations in genes such as BCR-ABL, FLT3, and JAK2 have been linked to different types of blood cancer.
Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors has been associated with an increased risk of developing blood cancer. These factors include exposure to ionizing radiation, certain chemicals (such as benzene), and certain chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy used to treat other cancers.
Age and gender: Blood cancers are more common in older individuals, with the risk increasing with age. Some types of blood cancer, such as multiple myeloma, are more prevalent in men, while others, such as certain types of leukemia, occur more frequently in women.
Family history: Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with a history of blood cancer increases the risk of developing the disease. Certain inherited conditions, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and Down syndrome, are also associated with a higher risk of blood cancer.
Immune system disorders: People with certain immune system disorders, such as autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus) or those who have undergone organ transplantation and are on immunosuppressive medications, have an increased risk of developing blood cancer.
Viral infections: Infections with certain viruses have been linked to the development of certain types of blood cancer. For example, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with an increased risk of developing Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Burkitt’s lymphoma, while human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV-1) is linked to adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.
Previous cancer treatments: Some individuals who have undergone certain cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, have an increased risk of developing blood cancer later in life.
It’s important to note that while these factors may increase the risk of developing blood cancer, many people who develop the disease have no identifiable risk factors. The interplay of various genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors in the development of blood cancer is still an active area of research. If you have concerns about your risk of developing blood cancer, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your medical history and circumstances.