Leukemia - Chronic T-Cell Lymphocytic: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing T-cell leukemia. Use the menu to see other pages.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of leukemia, most do not directly cause the disease. Some people with several risk factors never develop leukemia, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

In general, leukemia occasionally can be caused by a genetic mutation or change. These may be genetic mutations passed from generation to generation within a family or from environmental factors, such as smoking or exposure to chemicals or radiation. However, most often the cause of leukemia is not known. 

The following risk factor can increase a person’s chance of developing T-cell leukemia:

  • Race/Ethnicity. ATLL is more common in people of Japanese, West Indian, and African American descent.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what body changes or medical problems this disease can cause. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.