Awareness and Prevention

Leukemia occurs most often in adults older than 55, but it is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15. At UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, we’re focused on early detection of leukemia, which can be critical to successful treatment and management

Risk Factors

The following risk factors can sometimes play a role in the development of leukemia. However, many times leukemia patients won’t have any of these risk factors:

Previous cancer treatment
Chemotherapy and radiation may increase the risk of leukemia.
Smoking can increase the risk of some types of leukemia.
Genetic disorders
Some disorders, such as Down syndrome, may play a role in leukemia development.
Chemical exposure
Long-term exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals may be linked to leukemia.
Family history of leukemia
Your risk for leukemia may be increased if a family member has been diagnosed.


Slow-growing types of leukemia, such as chronic myeloid leukemia, often have no symptoms. However, acute types of leukemia may cause signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Persistent fatigue and weakness
  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Tiny red spots on the skin
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Bone pain or tenderness

These symptoms are often vague and may resemble the flu, so it’s important to be aware of changes in your body. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have any persistent symptoms that concern you.


There is no known way to prevent leukemia, but avoiding the risk factors listed above may help.

Request an Appointment

To schedule a visit with a leukemia specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.