Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)?

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), also called granulocytic, myelocytic, myeloblastic, ormyeloidleukemia, is a cancer of the blood in which too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow. In AML the bone marrow makes too many granulocytes, which normally fight infection. In addition to crowding out other important cells, these over-produced granulocytes  do not mature correctly. AML accounts for about three-quarters of all leukemias in adults.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Normally, bone marrow cells mature into several different types of blood cells. Acute myelogenous leukemia affects the young blood cells (called blasts) that develop into a type of white blood cell (called granulocytes). The main function of granulocytes is to destroy bacteria. The blasts, which do not mature and become too numerous, remain in the bone marrow and blood. Acute leukemia can occur over a short period of days to weeks. Chromosome abnormalities (extra chromosomes and structural changes in the chromosome material) are present in the majority of ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) patients.

Although AML typically occurs in adults, it can also occur in children.

According to the American Cancer Society, of the 48,610 leukemia cases expected in 2013. AML will account for 14,590 of the acute cases in 2013.

Symptoms of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

The following are the most common symptoms of acute myelogenous leukemia. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia2

Symptoms may include:

  • Anemia (too few red blood cells)
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Fever and recurring infections
  • Persistent weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Aches in bones and joints
  • Swollen gums, lymph nodes, liver, or spleen
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats

The symptoms of acute myelogenous leukemia may resemble other blood disorders or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.