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Acute myelogenous leukemia

  • Overview


    AML, or acute myelogenous leukemia, is cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. The bone marrow is where blood cells are produced in the spongy tissue inside bones.

    The term “acute” in AML refers to the rapid progression of the disease. It is called myelogenous leukemia because it affects a specific group of white blood cells called myeloid cells. These cells typically develop into various mature blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

    AML is also known as acute myeloid leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

  • Symptoms


    In the initial stages, acute myelogenous leukemia may display symptoms similar to the flu or other common illnesses. Some signs and symptoms of acute myelogenous leukemia are:
    Bone pain
    Lethargy and fatigue
    Shortness of breath
    Pale skin
    Frequent infections
    Easy bruising
    Unusual bleeding, such as frequent nosebleeds and bleeding from the gums

  • When to see a doctor


    You must schedule an appointment with a doctor if you notice any unusual or concerning signs or symptoms. They can help you determine the cause and provide the necessary treatment to get you feeling better. Don’t hesitate to contact a medical professional if you have any concerns.

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  • Causes


    Acute myelogenous leukemia is a type of cancer that occurs when a bone marrow cell experiences changes or mutations in its genetic material (DNA). DNA serves as a cell’s instructions, dictating growth rates and lifespan. In the case of acute myelogenous leukemia, the mutations cause bone marrow cells to continue dividing and growing uncontrollably.

    As a result, the production of blood cells spirals out of control. Immature cells are produced, which develop into leukemic white blood cells known as myeloblasts. These abnormal cells fail to function correctly, and they can accumulate and displace healthy cells.

    It is unclear what causes the DNA mutations that lead to leukemia, but doctors have identified risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing it.

  • Risk factors


    Factors that may increase your risk of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) include:
    Increasing age. The risk of acute myelogenous leukemia increases with age. Acute myelogenous leukemia is most common in adults aged 65 and older.
    Your sex. Men are more likely to develop acute myelogenous leukemia than are women.
    Previous cancer treatment. People with certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy may have a greater risk of developing AML.
    Radiation exposure. People exposed to very high radiation levels, such as survivors of a nuclear reactor accident, have an increased risk of developing AML.
    Dangerous chemical exposure. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene, is linked to a greater risk of AML.
    Smoking. AML is linked to cigarette smoke containing benzene and other known cancer-causing chemicals.
    Other blood disorders. People with different blood disorders, such as myelodysplasia, myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera or thrombocythemia, are at greater risk of developing AML.
    Genetic disorders. Certain genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome, are associated with an increased risk of AML.

    Many people with AML have no known risk factors, and many people with risk factors never develop cancer.

  • Prevention

  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023