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What are some facts about leukemia?

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Quick Answer

There are approximately 43,000 new cases of leukemia in the United States every year, as MD Anderson Cancer Center reports. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia are the most commonly diagnosed forms, with 15,000 new cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and 13,500 new acute myeloid leukemia diagnoses every year.

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Full Answer

About 6,000 people receive a diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia every year, while chronic myeloid leukemia makes up about 5,000 of the 43,000 new cases of leukemia that doctors see each year in the United States, explains MD Anderson Cancer Center. Leukemia occurs most often when the bone marrow produces abnormal, malfunctioning white blood cells, explains Mayo Clinic. Healthy white blood cells are important because they play a vital role in warding off infections.

Leukemia can be either acute or chronic, states Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Acute leukemia is the more aggressive, faster-developing form, while chronic leukemia progresses at a slower rate. Most cases of leukemia in children are acute, with acute lymphocytic leukemia being more common among children than acute myeloid leukemia. In the case of acute lymphocytic leukemia, lymphocytes, a form of white blood cells, fail to mature, reducing their ability to fight infections. Acute myeloid, or myelogenous, leukemia involves the myeloid cells, which are immature white blood cells that develop into mature white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in healthy individuals, explains Mayo Clinic.

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