Granulocytic Leukemia at 20x Magnification
Acute granulocytic leukemia is a common form of adult-onset leukemia, with more than an estimated 10,000 American men and women being diagnosed with the disease each year. The risk of developing acute granulocytic leukemia increases with age, and men are more susceptible to it than women. The average age of an individual diagnosed with the disease is 65. In most cases, the cause of the disease is never identified, but in some individuals acute granulocytic leukemia has been associated with exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, such as benzene. Chromosomal abnormalities are also believed to play a role in some cases of the cancer and certain genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, have been linked to an increased risk of developing acute granulocytic leukemia. A few instances of families with surprisingly high incidence of the disease have also been observed.