What is Leukaemia?

Leukaemia occurs when abnormal blood-forming cells in the bone marrow grow in an uncontrolled way. Leukaemia usually starts in the early form of white blood cells in the bone marrow, but some leukaemias start in other types of blood-forming cells. Read More

Leukaemia results in the body producing too many of the type of blood cell affected. The leukaemia cells don’t develop into normal mature blood cells, and don’t function in the way that normal blood cells do – for example, to fight infections. When the leukaemia cells build up in the bone marrow and blood, there is less room for healthy blood cells. This can result in anaemia, infection and bleeding easily. The leukaemia cells may spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and testicles.

Leukaemia is 1 of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia. It is the most common cancer in children and teenagers; around one-third of cancers in these young people are leukaemias, mostly one of the acute forms. Hide

  • Leukaemia statistics

    Leukaemia statistics

    Leukaemia is 1 of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia. It is the most common cancer in children and teenagers; around one-third of cancers in these young people are leukaemias, mostly one of the acute forms.

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  • Know the risk factors

    Know the risk factors

    Some risk factors are modifiable, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors, and others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors or whether someone in the family has had cancer.

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  • Leukaemia symptoms

    Leukaemia symptoms

    Some of the most common symptoms of leukaemia are symptoms resulting from low blood cell counts, including tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, fever, infections that don’t go away, bruising and bleeding easily. Weight loss, night sweats and loss of appetite.

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  • How is leukaemia diagnosed?

    How is leukaemia diagnosed?

    There are a number of tests to investigate your symptoms and confirm a diagnosis of leukaemia.

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  • Treatment options

    Treatment options

    Treatment and care of people with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals, both medical and allied health, called a multidisciplinary team.

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  • Finding support

    Finding support

    You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious or upset if you have been diagnosed with cancer – these are all normal feelings.

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  • Research & clinical trials

    Research & clinical trials

    Research is ongoing to find new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer.

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  • Health professionals

    Health professionals

    Information and Clinical Guidelines for Health professionals.

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