Currently, it is thought that a complex interaction among genetic, environmental, immunologic, and possibly viral factors predisposes individuals to leukemia. One or more of these factors causes a genetic accident (mutation) in an immature, but otherwise normal, blood cell. This mutation prevents the cell from maturing and enables it to divide frequently, producing more abnormal cells. The most important point for parents to remember is that at present there is no way to predict or prevent leukemia in children.

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