What are the risk factors for chronic myeloid leukemia?
A risk factor is something that affects a person's chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be controlled. Others, such as a person's age, can't be changed. But risk factors don't tell us everything. Having a risk factor, or even several risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. And many people who get the disease may not have had any known risk factors.
There are very few known risk factors for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), they are:
- High dose radiation, such as an atomic bomb blast or nuclear reactor accident
- Age (the risk of getting CML goes up with age)
- Gender (this disease is slightly more common in males than females, but it's not known why)
There are no other proven risk factors for CML. The risk of getting CML does not seem to be linked to smoking, diet, or exposure to chemicals or infections. CML does not run in families.
Can chronic myeloid leukemia be prevented?
Most cases of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have no clear cause and there is no way to prevent them. Many types of cancer can be prevented by lifestyle changes to avoid certain risk factors, but this is not true for most cases of CML.
Last Medical Review: 08/13/2013
Last Revised: 08/13/2013