What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia

What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia is cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The blood is made up of different types of cells. When one type of cell in the blood becomes too numerous, it may lead to a specific type of leukemia. This disease is cancer involving uncontrolled growth and division of abnormal white blood cells. Acute myelogenous leukemia progresses rapidly into the bloodstream and affects all body parts. Symptoms include easy bruising or bleeding, frequent or unusual bleeding from gums, nosebleeds, blood in urine or stool, bone pain, bone tenderness, or bone sores.

This article will explore acute myeloid leukemia, including the signs and symptoms, diagnostic testing for AML, and treatment options.

What is AML?

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) starts in the bone marrow. Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells that become all types of blood cells — red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In AML, immature white blood cells called blast cells crowd out healthy blood cell production.

These abnormal blast cells may also build up in the spleen and other organs, such as the liver and kidneys. AML is fast-growing cancer that can spread to other parts of your body through your bloodstream or lymphatic system. AML doesn’t always have symptoms at first, but if it’s caught early enough, it’s usually curable with treatment. If it’s not caught early enough, it can be fatal within weeks to months without treatment.

AML Occurrence

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a blood and bone marrow cancer. It starts in early stem cells that produce red and white blood cells. These stem cells are found in the bone marrow.

AML accounts for about 25% of all leukemias and occurs most often in adults over 60.

The cause of Acute Myeloid Leukemia isn’t known. Still, some risk factors include:

  • Age (most cases occur in adults over 60 years old)
  • Genetics (the disease runs in families)
  • Exposure to radiation or chemicals (such as benzene)

Treatment Plan for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The main treatment for AML is chemotherapy. In some cases, doctors may recommend other treatments as well. Treatment for AML may include:


Chemotherapy is an important part of treating AML because it kills cancer cells by stopping them from dividing or making new blood cells. It’s also used to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

Radiation therapy:

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external beam radiation) or from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (brachytherapy).

Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA inside cancer cells, which prevents them from dividing and growing. The damaged cells then die and are broken down and eliminated by the body’s immune system.

Radiation therapy can be used to treat many different types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and brain tumors. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy can cause side effects, such as fatigue, skin irritation, and nausea, but these side effects are usually temporary and can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. The type and severity of side effects depend on the location and extent of the radiation treatment.

Stem cell transplantation:

A stem cell transplantation replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells from another person (donor). This process can cure some types of AML if the donor is a matching sibling.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) affects the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. Signs and symptoms of AML include:

  • Anemia, which makes you feel tired and weak
  • Fever
  • Bone pain
  • Shortness of breath, especially when exercising
  • Swelling of the abdomen (splenomegaly)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

Risk Factors of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia is characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells called myeloid blasts. The disease is rare in children but more common in adults.

The following factors increase your chance of developing AML:

  • Age – Most patients are 65 or older when diagnosed with AML
  • Gender – Men are more likely to develop AML, but this may be due to differences in how men and women are treated for other illnesses and conditions
  • Genetics – Inherited gene changes (mutations) increase the risk that a person may develop AML.
  • Environmental factors – Exposure to radiation, certain chemicals, or viruses may increase the risk for AML.

Weight Loss or Loss of Appetite in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) begins when a type of white blood cell begins to grow out of control.
This can lead to anemia, infection, bleeding, and bruising problems. The blood-producing system gets out of balance, making too many abnormal white blood cells. These are called blasts or leukemic cells.

The most common treatment for AML is chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing and dividing. Radiation therapy may sometimes be used before or after chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

If you have AML, you will likely need to take several rounds of chemotherapy over several months or years.

An Overview of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is fast-growing, high-grade malignancy that develops from precursor white blood cells called myeloblasts. It is the most common adult leukemia in developed countries and the fifth most common form of cancer globally.

The disease occurs when immature white blood cells accumulate in the bone marrow, crowding out healthy cells and preventing them from maturing into normal red blood cells, platelets, or other cellular components.
Invading leukemia cells into the bloodstream can lead to anemia, infection, and bleeding. Symptoms may include unexplained weight loss, fatigue, fever, and night sweats.

AML symptoms may develop over weeks or months before a diagnosis is made. Changes in mental status, such as confusion, anxiety, and mood swings (mania), are more common in AML than with other types of leukemia. Other symptoms include easy bleeding or bruising; pale skin; shortness of breath; swollen lymph nodes; bone pain; bone fractures; abdominal pain; kidney failure; low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).


Cancer always has its side effects, and those battling cancer are at high risk of leukemia. That is why it is essential to manage your health when you have cancer, and with the use of a wellness clinic like Cura4U that offers online lab tests and online doctor consultations, you can match your symptoms to a treatment plan. The doctors from Cura4U will be able to help manage your ailments and look for signs of leukemia.

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