AML or Acute myeloid leukemia is one of the serious blood cancer diseases. “Acute” means that the leukemia can progress quickly. According to the American Cancer society, 13,780 new cases of AML will occur this year. Of this number, most will be adults.
This form of leukemia is seen more often in men than in women, and patients with AML are typically over the age of 60. This disorder is characterized by too many immature white blood cells entering into the bone marrow resulting in a rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells. This excess of immature white blood cells interferes with the normal production of blood cells and the patient’s ability to fight infections. This disease causes a drop in the production of red blood cells and even the normal white blood cells.
The cause of AML may be hereditary, but not likely because there does not appear to be a strong genetic link. AML may result from exposure to certain chemicals especially benzene, or exposure to extensive radiation. Even some drugs may cause AML. But in no way is AML viral. Some genetic conditions appear to be associated with AML. Individuals with certain blood disorders appear to be a risk for developing AML. Cigarette smoking has been related to the onset of AML. Chemotherapy drugs administered for previous cancer may cause AML. Although there are many possibilities, the specific cause of this condition is not yet clear.
Some symptoms that the patient may experience are fatigue, anorexia, shortness of breath, and weight loss. The patient may bruise easily with excessive bleeding and experience a higher incidence of infection. These symptoms are usually due to anemia in patients which is as a result of reduced production of normal red blood cells and platelets.
Because AML is as an acute form of leukemia, it’s progression is rapid. Therefore it is imperative that the patient seeks medical attention as soon as possible to confirm the suspected diagnosis. Because the diagnosis can be challenging, it should be made by a qualified physician who can provide the proper treatment plan. Acute myeloid leukemia, AML is a curable disease, but if it is left untreated it may be fatal.