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Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) – Adults

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Overview

A diagnosis of leukemia can be devastating, and it is critical to find the right medical team and facilities for your treatment. At Sheba Medical Center in Israel, our Hemato-Oncology Division offers you the latest progressive treatments customized by doctors who are world leaders in advancing different therapies for leukemia. Medical specialists from many disciplines, including hematologists, radiation oncologists, and general oncologists, will evaluate each case of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in order to design the most helpful treatment.

Sheba’s Hemato-Oncology Division is equipped with cutting-edge technologies, and we apply the newest clinical-based research to develop each patient’s treatment program. If a bone marrow transplant is needed, we use a precise HLA laboratory and our molecular laboratory to identify an ideal donor match. If no genetically suitable donor is located, Sheba is also a member of the National Marrow Donor Program.

Our approach to treating cancer is holistic, considering the whole body and not just AML. Beginning with your initial consultation all the way through follow-up appointments and testing, our compassionate team of medical professionals will strive to preserve your quality of life and keep you as comfortable as possible. Cancer can have far-reaching effects on your physical and emotional well-being, which is why your treatment program at Sheba includes a variety of support services.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) - Adults

About Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute Myeloid Leukemia can develop at any age, although it affects older adults most frequently; the average age at diagnosis is 65 years. AML tends to be a fast-growing type of leukemia, which is why it is called “acute” (and not “chronic”). While there is presently no cure for AML, there are treatments that can be very helpful at controlling the disease.

What is AML?

AML is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow in which the bone marrow produces immature white blood cells, called myeloblasts. AML prevents these myeloblasts from developing into mature, healthy blood cells, so they just build up and crowd out your other healthy cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Sometimes AML can also spread to other organs, such as the brain, spinal cord, liver, or spleen. Without prompt treatment, AML can be life-threatening.

What Are the Risk Factors of AML?

The exact cause of AML remains unknown, but medicine has identified some of the risk factors for this cancer:
  • Age, usually over 65 years
  • Being male
  • A history of smoking
  • Past treatment with specific types of chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • A history of a blood disorder, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, myeloproliferative neoplasm, or aplastic anemia
  • Certain birth defects and disorders, such as Down syndrome
  • Extreme exposure to particular hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and paint strippers
  • Exposure to radiation

What Are the Symptoms of AML?

In the early stages of AML, when your body is producing fewer healthy blood cells, many of the symptoms are similar to those of the flu or another virus.

The most common early symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness or pain below the ribs on the left side
  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Infections
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
Once AML progresses and spreads, some typical symptoms are:
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Small red spots under your skin caused by bleeding
  • Blurry vision
  • Problems with balance
  • Bleeding that can be hard to stop
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums
  • Pain in your bones or joints
  • Swollen glands in your underarms, neck, groin, or above your collarbone

Are There Different Types of AML?

Acute myeloid leukemia is typically widespread throughout the bone marrow, and sometimes, it also spreads to other organs. However, it does not usually form tumors like other cancers do.
Because of this, AML cannot be staged like most other cancers.

Instead, the type of AML is classified based on factors such as laboratory results and the patient’s age. Your doctors at Sheba will perform lab tests to determine the specific subtype of AML in order to decide on the optimal treatment.

Request a consultation

Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone. We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

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