Cancer Home > Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia


Key information about childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia includes the following:
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells, which are the cells in the body that normally fight infection.
  • In childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the abnormal cells may collect in the brain or spinal cord, also called the central nervous system (CNS).
  • In cancers such as leukemia that appear throughout the body during their earliest stages, screening does not appear to be useful. Instead, children with possible symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia should see their physician.
  • Although leukemia cells from different children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia often look similar under the microscope, there are actually many distinctive subtypes of ALL.
  • With the exception of prenatal exposure to x-rays and specific genetic syndromes, such as Down syndrome, little is known about the causes of and risk factors for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
(Click Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Statistics for more ALL statistics.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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