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Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow, specifically the white cells. Abnormal cancerous blood cells are formed in great numbers in the bone marrow. They gradually crowd out the normal cell types until severe anemia (low red blood cell count), overwhelming infection (the cancerous cells are useless as infection fighters), or catastrophic bleeding occurs (the platelets, or clotting cells of the bloodstream having been forced out of the bone marrow).