Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Also called: AML, ANLL, Acute myelogenous leukemia

Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. White blood cells help your body fight infection. Your blood cells form in your bone marrow. In leukemia, however, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells crowd out the healthy blood cells, making it hard for blood to do its work. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), there are too many of a specific type of white blood cell called a myeloblast.

AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. This type of cancer usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. Possible risk factors include smoking, previous chemotherapy treatment, and exposure to radiation.

Symptoms of AML include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Weakness or feeling tired
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow diagnose AML. Treatments include chemotherapy, other drugs, radiation therapy, stem cell transplants, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. Once the leukemia is in remission, you need additional treatment to make sure that it does not come back.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following features are indicative of Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • bleeding
  • feeling tired
  • weight loss
  • petechiae

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Common Causes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following are the most common causes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • prior radiation therapy
  • smoking

Risk Factors for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • smoking
  • being male
  • radiation therapy in the past
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment for childhood in the past
  • exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb
  • history of a blood disorder

Prevention of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid smoking
  • avoid exposure to cancer-causing chemicals

Occurrence of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Acute Myeloid Leukemia cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Acute Myeloid Leukemia most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Acute Myeloid Leukemia can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • Complete blood count: To measure the number of the blood cells
  • Peripheral blood smear: To determine the changes in the numbers and the appearance of the blood cells
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: To remove a sample of the liquid portion of bone marrow
  • Bone marrow biopsy: To expel a small, solid piece of bone marrow
  • Magnetic resonance imaging scan: To view the detailed images of soft tissues in the body
  • Blood chemistry test: To measure the amount of certain chemicals in the blood
  • Blood coagulation tests: To determine the blood clotting
  • Immunohistochemistry: To determine the exact type of leukemia present
  • Cytogenetics: To know about chromosome changes
  • Polymerase chain reaction: To determine certain gene changes
  • Lumbar puncture: To treat the spread of leukemia to the spinal cord and brain
  • Ultrasound: To view lymph nodes near the surface of the body
  • Chest X-rays: To diagnose the enlarged lymph nodes in the chest
  • Computed tomography scan: to determine the enlarged lymph nodes or organs in the body

Doctor for Diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • Hematologist
  • Oncologist

Complications of Acute Myeloid Leukemia if untreated

Yes, Acute Myeloid Leukemia causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Acute Myeloid Leukemia is left untreated:
  • bleeding in the brain or a lung
  • myeloid sarcoma
  • infections

Procedures for Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following procedures are used to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • Chemotherapy: To kill cancer cells in the body
  • Stem cell transplant: Re-establishing healthy stem cells by replacing unhealthy bone marrow with leukemia-free stem cells

Self-care for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • Avoid chemical exposure: Avoid exposure to certain chemicals such as benzene
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid radiation exposure: Avoid exposure to high levels of radiation

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Acute Myeloid Leukemia:
  • Acupuncture: To treat pain and balancing the flow of energy
  • Aromatherapy: To enhance psychological and physical well-being
  • Massage: Relax muscles and alleviate body pain
  • Meditation: To ease the side effects of cancer treatment
  • Relaxation exercises: To reduce stress

Patient Support for Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The following actions may help Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients:
  • Education: By knowing about leukemia and researching information in local library and on the internet

Time for Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Acute Myeloid Leukemia to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Childhood Leukemia
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

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