Causes of Leukemia
Working With Certain Chemicals
People who work with chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde may be at a greater risk of developing leukemia. Both benzene and formaldehyde are used by the chemical industry.
People with cancer who are treated with certain cancer-fighting drugs will sometimes later develop leukemia. For example, drugs known as alkylating agents are associated with the development of leukemia.
Down Syndrome and Certain Other Genetic Diseases
Some diseases caused by abnormal chromosomes may increase the risk of leukemia.
Human T-cell Leukemia Virus-I (HTLV-I)
The HTLV-I virus causes a rare type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia known as human T-cell leukemia. However, leukemia does not appear to be contagious.
People with myelodysplastic syndrome, which is a blood disease, are at an increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia.