By Heather Moehn
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Additional resources for Everything you need to know when someone you know has leukemia
Page 25 Research has proved that certain chemicals polluting the air, ground, and water will cause cancer. Page 26 This person has deformed hands as a result of exposure to radiation. One in six survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion developed leukemia and people exposed to nuclear reactor accidents also have a higher incidence of the disease. In these cases, people were exposed to very high doses of radiation. Most experts agree that low levels of radiation probably don't cause leukemia.
Bone marrow-A soft, fatty substance that fills the insides of bones. Blood cells are created in the bone marrow. bone marrow aspiration-A method used to draw out bone marrow from the body. bone marrow transplant-When the patient's unhealthy bone marrow is replaced with healthy bone marrow from a donor. chemotherapy-A type of treatment for cancer in which anti- Page 57 cancer drugs travel throughout the bloodstream and destroy all rapidly dividing cells. chronic leukemia-A type of leukemia that is slow to progress.
The patient's health must be carefully evaluated. Some patients may not be eligible for a transplant. For example, in people over the age of fifty-five, the risk of a transplant usually outweighs the possible benefit. If the patient is a good candidate for a transplant, a suitable donor must be found. Often this is the hardest Page 42 part of a bone marrow transplant. The donor must have the same proteins in the WBCs as the patient. An identical twin is the ideal donor because his or her genes are an exact duplicate of the patient's.