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Is Leukemia Hereditary?

Is Leukemia Hereditary?

In case more than one member of the same family suffer from leukemia, one is sure to wonder whether it is hereditary or not. Let us find out.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Leukemia is one of the four major types of cancers, which is a cause of a large number of deaths every year. Often referred to as the cancer of blood, it is actually the cancer of blood cells or the blood forming tissue. Cancer, as we are aware, is a disease caused due to uncontrolled growth of a harmful cells in the body. In case of leukemia, malignant cells develop in the bone marrow resulting in a progressive disease. Acute myelogenous, acute lymphoblastic, chronic myelogenous, and chronic lymphocytic are the four different types of leukemia.
Causes and Symptoms of Leukemia
The exact cause of this type of cancer is unknown. However, it is believed that there are possible causes that can lead to any of the above mentioned types of leukemia. Exposure to radiation or chemotherapy, constant exposure to petrochemicals, viruses like the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), etc., are some of the common causes of leukemia. Similarly, people suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome and Down syndrome are also at a higher risk of suffering from this condition. Sometimes, it is observed that more than one member of a family suffer from leukemia.
Abnormal clotting and anemia are some of the significant symptoms of leukemia. The person may also constantly suffer from infections and other illnesses due to abnormal functioning of the immune system. Apart from these, early signs and symptoms of leukemia include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss, lack of energy, enlargement of liver, spleen, weakness, etc.
Is Leukemia Genetically Inherited?
Similar to all other types of cancer, people suffering from cancer do not pass it to their children or the further generation. It is only in rare cases that we find parents and their offspring and their offspring suffering from cancer. However, leukemia is not hereditary nor is inherited genetically. But, on the other hand, although not proven, it is believed that genetics and heredity play an important role in causing leukemia. Hence, we can say that the family members of people suffering from leukemia are at a higher risk of contracting this disease.
It is essential to identify symptoms of leukemia in order to get the condition diagnosed and treated. Therefore, you should consult a doctor immediately if any related symptoms are observed.
Disclaimer: This article is purely for informative purposes, and should not be treated as a replacement for professional medical advice.