Risk Factors for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

A risk factor can be anything that influences the development of any cancer. But having a risk factor, or many, does not give certainty of having particular cancer. Some people with no risk factors can also develop cancer. 

The cause of CML is unknown, though researchers now understand how the disease develops from genetic changes in the bone marrow cells. Environmental factors account only for a small number of CML diagnoses. Family history doesn’t appear to play a role in the development of CML.

These factors may raise a person’s risk of developing CML –

  • Age – The average age of people diagnosed with CML is around 64. CML is uncommon in children and teens.
  • Radiation exposure – Many people who were long-term survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan were diagnosed with CML. Additionally, radiation therapy for a condition known as ankylosing spondylitis has been associated with CML. However, there is no proven link between CML and chemotherapy or radiation therapy for other types of cancer or other diseases.

Gender – Men are somewhat more likely to develop CML than women.