Reducing your risk for leukemia

You may lower your risk of developing leukemia by doing the following.

Be a non-smoker

Not smoking is the best way to lower your risk of leukemia. Don’t start smoking. If you smoke, get help to quit. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of leukemia.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Some studies have shown that overweight and obesity may increase your risk of leukemia. You may lower your risk by having a healthy body weight. Eating well and being physically active can help you have a healthy body weight.

Avoid breathing in benzene and formaldehyde

Avoid or lower your long-term contact with benzene and formaldehyde to reduce your risk of leukemia.

More information about preventing cancer

Learn what you can do to prevent cancer.

Expert review and references

  • Druker BJ, Marin D . Chronic myelogenous leukemia. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: Chapter 109.
  • Kebriaei P, de Lima M, Estey EH, Champlin R . Management of acute leukemias. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: Chapter 107.
  • Linet, M.S., Devesa, S.S., & Morgan, G.J. . The leukemias. Schottenfeld, D. & Fraumeni, J. F. Jr. (eds.). Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006: 44: pp. 841-871.
  • Wierda WC, O'Brien SM . Chronic lymphocytic leukemias. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: Chapter 110.
  • Yang TYO, Cairns BJ, Kroll ME, Reeves GK, Green J & Beral V . Body size in early life and risk of lymphoid malignancies and histological subtypes in adulthood. International Journal of Cancer. 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4855635/.