What is Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)?

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) occurs when too many neutrophils develop from immature myeloid cells. The cells then die. AML is less common than ALL in children.


Symptoms of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)

These are the most common symptoms of acute myeloid leukaemia. However, each person's symptoms may be different.

Symptoms may include

·Anaemia (too few red blood cells)



·Fever and recurrent infections

·Persistent weakness


·Pain in bones and joints

·Swollen gums, lymph nodes, liver or spleen

·Weight loss

·Night sweats

The symptoms of acute myeloid leukaemia may be similar to other blood disorders or medical problems. Always check with your doctor for a diagnosis.


Risk factors for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)

Anything that increases your risk of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor doesn't mean you'll get cancer; not having a risk factor doesn't mean you won't get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor.

Most cases of AML seem to have no obvious cause.

Possible risk factors include

·Exposure to radiation, chemicals and medicines

·Having a sibling with leukaemia

·Having a certain genetic disorder, such as Down's syndrome

·Having a blood disorder in your family, such as myelodysplastic syndrome


Diagnosing acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)

You may have a number of tests to find out if you have AML. These include

- Blood test 

- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

- Immunophenotyping

- Cytogenetic analysis

- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) 

Additional blood tests and other assessments may also be carried out.


Treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

The specific treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia will be determined by your doctor based on

·Your age, general health and medical history

·The subtype of AML

·The extent of the disease

·Your ability to tolerate certain medications, procedures, or therapies

·Your expectations for the course of the disease

·Your opinions or preferences

You may have one type of treatment or a combination of treatments. Different types of treatment have different aims. Here are some of the types of treatment and their goals for adults with AML.

·What treatment may include


Use of anti-cancer drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells and reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.


The use of high-energy radiation to kill or shrink cancer cells, tumours and non-cancerous diseases.

·Blood and bone marrow transplantation

A specialised therapy to transfer healthy bone marrow cells into a patient after their own unhealthy bone marrow has been removed.

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