Leukemia is a Big Risk if You Live in 1 of These American States

No one wants to deal with cancer, but it isn’t up to you. Cancer doesn’t discriminate about whom it impacts, and you can still be diagnosed even if you do all the things you’re supposed to do to avoid it. You might not know it, but leukemia is cancer, too, and it’s one of the most fatal types around. Depending on where you live, you might be more prone to receiving a leukemia diagnosis. These states have the highest rates of leukemia in the country.

We’re basing our countdown on Centers for Disease Control data. In the event of ties, we placed the state with more diagnoses higher up the list. Thousands of miles separate two states on our list (Nos. 6 and 5), but they’re identical in the diagnosis rate per 100,000 people.

What is leukemia?

Blood test tubes.

Leukemia affects your blood. | Bet_Noire/iStock/Getty Images

Before we dive in, we want to tell you what we’re dealing with. Unlike many cancers, you won’t develop a tumor when you have leukemia. The disease affects your body’s blood-forming tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic. That means your bone marrow and lymphatic system produce blood cells (usually white blood cells) that don’t work properly.

Risk factors that increase your chances of developing leukemia include previous cancer treatments, exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, and genetic disorders.

Next: The rate is high even if the number of diagnoses isn’t.

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