Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of rapidly-progressing cancer that affects bone marrow and therefore the blood. In AML, premature blood cells (myeloids) found in the bone marrow develop into cancerous cells called leukemic blasts. Leukemic blasts can prevent healthy cells from forming elsewhere in the body. Symptoms of AML-M1 include easy bruising, bone pain, fatigue, fever, frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums, sudden weight loss, night sweats, loss of appetite, dizziness, shortness of breath, bone/joint pain, abdominal swelling, and rashes.
Susceptibility to developing AML may be genetic and the condition has been linked to the CEBPA, ETV6, JAK2, and KRAS2 genes. Genes are made up of DNA passed from parent to child that create proteins responsible for normal bodily and cellular processes.The inheritance patterns for these genes vary. AML may also be caused by certain blood disorders, and environmental/drug exposures; however, many who develop AML have no apparent risk factor.
Diagnosis of AML may include a medical history evaluation and physical exam, blood/bone marrow testing, and other biochemical tests. AML can progress quickly and may become fatal if it isn’t caught early; however, AML is considered to be treatable. Like other similar cancers, AML may be treated with chemotherapy and/or a targeted therapy drug. A stem cell transplant may also be an option for treatment, as well as surgery or radiation. AML has a high survival rate – in patients under 60, ~70 to 80% will go into remission (cancer recovery) after the first round of chemotherapy; however, patients over 60 may not have as high a chance.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with AML, speak with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups may also be available for further resources and information.
Description Last Updated: Aug 24, 2018