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Redmond Regional Medical Center

Reducing Your Risk of Leukemia

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.

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

Revision Information

  • American Cancer Society website. Available at: .

  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: .

  • National Cancer Institute website. Available at: .

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Redmond Regional Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.