Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for about 30% of all pediatric cancer cases. Most cases of childhood leukemias are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), with most remaining cases being acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Leukemias are cancers of the bone marrow and blood. Leukemia takes over white blood cell production, creating abnormal leukemia cells. White blood cells are typically responsible for fighting infection, however defective leukemia-infected white blood cells do not function normally and instead crowd the bone marrow, suppressing development of normal cells. As leukemia progresses, this cancer can interfere with other bodily functions, causing problems such as anemia and increased risk of infection and other disease. There are several different types of leukemia based on how quickly the disease progresses and on what cells it involves.