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Avoid Exposure to Benzene and High Doses of Radiation

Exposure to the chemical benzene or high doses of radiation increases the risk of leukemia. Environmental exposures to radiation are generally at a low dose and may increase your risk of developing leukemia. High dose radiation is something usually only cancer patients are exposed to, and this exposure is necessary to cure a present cancer. The risk of the cancer coming back without radiation therapy is far greater than the risk of developing leukemia from the radiation, and you should not avoid radiation because of this small leukemia risk. There are certain types of chemotherapy drugs that can also increase your risk of leukemia, such as melphalan, mechlorethamine, and other drugs called alkylating agents.

If You Smoke, Stop

Smokers over age 60 are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop acute myeloid leukemia. For information on how to stop smoking, click here.

References:

American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.lls.org.

National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov.



Last reviewed December 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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