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Chemotherapy Can Cause Leukemia?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), treatment-related leukemia is a potential side effect for many cancer patients who have received standard chemotherapy treatment. “In the course of improving interventions and survival rates in many types of cancer, we have learned that certain chemotherapies can cause damage to cells in the bone marrow, increasing a patient’s risk of leukemia.” said Lindsay Morton, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and lead author of the study.

Dr. Morton and a team of researchers looked at statistics of 426,068 U.S. people who were cancer patients between 1975 and 2008, were aged between 20 and 84, and underwent chemotherapy treatment. Dr. Morton’s team confirmed 801 cases of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (tAML). The number of patients affected by tAML was directly proportional to the year of diagnosis and the type of initial cancer.

1/3 of the tAML cases were breast cancer patients.

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