For most types of leukemia, the risk factors and possible causes are not known. However, health professionals have found that risk factors for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) may include:
- Certain chemotherapies used for lymphoma or other types of cancer
- Down syndrome and some other genetic diseases
- Chronic exposure to benzene (such as in the workplace) that exceeds federally approved safety limits
- Radiation therapy used to treat other types of cancer
- Tobacco smoke
Exposure to high doses of radiation therapy is also a risk factor for ALL and Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). Researchers continue to study other possible risk factors for the four types of leukemia.