Although childhood cancer is rare, leukemia is the most common form. The cause of leukemia is not known, but we do know that it is not contagious and it is not thought to be hereditary. Some research suggests that things in the environment may play a role in developing this type of cancer.
Leukemia is cancer of the tissues of the body which make the blood cells and the bone marrow. When leukemia strikes, the body makes an abundance of abnormal white cells that do not perform their proper functions. They invade the marrow and crowd out the normal healthy blood cells, making the patient susceptible to infection and bruising.
There are two main types of childhood leukemia: Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myelocytic leukemia (AML). ALL accounts for 80 percent of all leukemia in children and AML accounts for 20 percent.
For more detailed information regarding leukemia, including signs and symptoms, read our Helping Hand.