Acute lymphocytic leukemia, also known as acute lymphoid leukemia or acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is a condition that affects the white blood cells of the body, corrupting their DNA and causing them to grow abnormally. Because these white blood cells mature abnormally, they are unable to fight infection properly, leaving the body greatly susceptible to illness. These abnormal cells also multiply rapidly and begin to take up the room needed by healthy blood cells to perform the functions that the body needs. This overproduction of abnormal white blood cells can occur for a significant period of time before the condition begins to show symptoms requiring medical attention. Over time, the abnormal white blood cells begin to affect the performance of the healthy blood cells, causing illness and requiring prompt medical treatment. Acute lymphocytic leukemia can also spread to other areas of the body, including the brain and spinal cord.
There are around 5,000 cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia diagnosed in the United States each year. Of these cases, two-thirds will occur in children under the age of 15 and the remaining third occurs in individuals over the age of 45. For adults, the risk of developing acute lymphocytic leukemia increases with age although any individual of any age can develop the condition. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is not contagious and cannot be passed from individual to individual by physical contact. There is no known way to prevent the development of the condition and there is no reliable cure available for the adults affected with the condition. In some cases, the condition progresses quickly and can be fatal within weeks if not treated promptly and properly.
The risk factors for developing acute lymphocytic leukemia are varied and can affect anyone. The condition occurs mainly in developed countries and occurs at different rates depending on the geographical location. Environmental agents are believed to be a major contributor to the development of acute lymphocytic leukemia. Experts believe that long term exposure to chemicals that are known carcinogens, such as benzene, can aid in the development of acute lymphocytic leukemia. Benzene is used in many industrial processes, is used as an industrial solvent, and is an ingredient in the production of many items such as paint, adhesives, nylon, rubber, and pesticides. Individuals who have worked in these industries and have been exposed to high levels of benzene have a greater risk of developing acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Previous exposure to chemotherapy or radiation therapy has also been associated with the development of acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is believed that the high doses of chemicals and radiation used for these therapies can cause the corruption of DNA that causes acute lymphocytic leukemia to develop. Exposure to areas with high concentrations of radiation, such as old bombing sites and environment disaster areas, may also contribute to the development of the condition. Many experts believe that acute lymphocytic leukemia is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. There is no way to predict which individuals will develop acute lymphocytic leukemia and which will not. Some individuals that have been exposed to the risk factors will never develop the condition while others who have never been exposed to any of the known risk factors will develop the disorder. Research continues into the risk factors for acute lymphocytic leukemia and how to avoid contracting the condition.
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The Toxic Tort Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in Benzene lawsuits. We are handling individual and group litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Benzene cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to Benzene and developed a form of leukemia or other blood related disease, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation and we can help.