What Is Leukemia?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells—usually the white blood cells—and develops in the bone marrow. Leukemic cells look different than normal cells and do not function properly.

The bone marrow is the soft, spongy center of the long bones that produces the three major blood cells:

  • White blood cells to fight infection
  • Red blood cells that carry oxygen
  • Platelets that help with blood clotting and stop bleeding

Leukemia is the most common form of cancer in childhood. It affects approximately 3,000 children each year in the United States, accounting for about 30% of childhood cancers. Learn about childhood leukemia from the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, which is within easy walking distance from the Stanford Cancer Center and also Stanford Health Care.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Before beginning treatment, ask your doctor about any clinical trials you should consider. Learn more about clinical trials for cancer patients.

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