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Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood caused by the bone marrow producing abnormal white blood cells. White blood cells are part of the immune system, fighting disease by attacking germs that invade the body. These abnormal white blood cells are called leukemia cells. Leukemia cells do not die when they get old or damaged, as normal white blood cells do. Instead, the leukemia cells accumulate in the blood, sometimes crowding out healthy white blood cells.

The most common forms of leukemia fall into two major categories:

  • Acute leukemia. With acute forms of leukemia, abnormal white blood cells do not fight disease. As leukemia cells collect in the blood, normal white blood cells cannot do their work and the body becomes susceptible to infections it normally fights off. This type of leukemia usually develops quickly.
  • Chronic leukemia. Chronic leukemia is an increase of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the blood and crowd out normal blood cells. These leukemia cells usually develop slowly.

Acute leukemia usually causes more severe symptoms that may require extensive treatment. Chronic leukemia can sometimes cause few symptoms, and it is possible to have this disease and not know it.

Symptoms of leukemia may include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (especially lymph nodes in the neck or armpit)
  • Fevers or night sweats
  • Frequent infections
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Bleeding and bruising easily
  • Pain in the bones or joints
  • Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite

Indiana University Health offers a comprehensive leukemia treatment program committed to your overall health, from initial diagnosis to recovery and beyond. Our goal is to heal you, not just treat your cancer.

We use a wide spectrum of treatments for leukemia. The particular treatments you receive depend on the personalized treatment plan we develop with you and your family. We take into account your special needs and preferences, so the treatment you receive is highly effective. 

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Leukemia Treatment Information

Treatments for leukemia include:


Leukemia Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area. 

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.


Leukemia Support Services

Leukemia can be a complex disease. The websites listed below provide information about various types of leukemia and offer resources to help you manage the challenges that come with this condition.