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About

Pediatric Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)


About Pediatric AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia)

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), also known as acute myeloid leukemia, is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects a group of white blood cells called myeloid cells. AML is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults, with an average age of 68 at diagnosis.


What is AML?

Cancer is when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. It can happen in any part of the body and in advanced stages, can spread to other parts of the body. The type of cancer a person has is defined by the place in which the cancer originated.

AML is a type of cancer that starts in cells in the bone marrow that would otherwise have developed into mature blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In AML, cancer generally moves at a rapid pace into the blood, and can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system, and testicles.

AML Risk Factors

There are not very many known risk factors for AML, and the main ones, like a person’s sex, age, and family history cannot be changed. The following factors may increase a person’s risk for developing AML:

  • Age. The risk of developing AML becomes greater as people get older.
  • Sex. AML is more common in males than in females.
  • Family history. Having a close relative with AML increases a person’s risk of getting the disease.
  • Smoking. People who smoke are at a greater risk of developing AML.
  • Exposure to chemicals. Long-term exposure to benzene — a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries — increases a person’s risk of developing AML. It is also believed that exposure to formaldehyde increases the risk of developing AML.
  • Exposure to radiation. People who have been exposed to high-dose radiation have a greatly increased risk of developing AML.
  • Blood disorders. The risk of AML is higher among those with blood disorders, such as polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis. The risk increases if the person has been treated for these conditions with chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Genetic Syndromes. People with certain syndromes caused by genetic mutations, including those with Down syndrome or Trisomy 8, are at greater risk of developing AML.

Symptoms of AML

Most symptoms of AML are caused by a reduction in the number of healthy blood cells in the body due to the crowding of leukemia cells.

A drop in red blood cell count (anemia) may cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Feeling cold
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath

A drop in platelet count may cause easy bruising and bleeding, while a decrease in white blood cells can lead to frequent infections.

Early signs of AML often mimic symptoms of the flu, such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, bone pain, and shortness of breath.

Types of AML

There are several types of AML. Once a diagnosis is made, doctors will then figure out the subtype based on laboratory tests. This important information helps them to determine the patient’s outlook and to build a customized treatment plan.


What is AML?

Cancer is when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. It can happen in any part of the body and in advanced stages, can spread to other parts of the body. The type of cancer a person has is defined by the place in which the cancer originated.

AML is a type of cancer that starts in cells in the bone marrow that would otherwise have developed into mature blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In AML, cancer generally moves at a rapid pace into the blood, and can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system, and testicles

 

AML Risk Factors

There are only a few proven risk factors for CML:

  • Age. The risk of developing AML becomes greater as people get older.
  • Sex. AML is more common in males than in females.
  • Family history. Having a close relative with AML increases a person’s risk of getting the disease.
  • Smoking. People who smoke are at a greater risk of developing AML.
  • Exposure to chemicals. Long-term exposure to benzene — a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries — increases a person’s risk of developing AML. It is also believed that exposure to formaldehyde increases the risk of developing AML.
  • Exposure to radiation. People who have been exposed to high-dose radiation have a greatly increased risk of developing AML.
  • Blood disorders. The risk of AML is higher among those with blood disorders, such as polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis. The risk increases if the person has been treated for these conditions with chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Genetic Syndromes. People with certain syndromes caused by genetic mutations, including those with Down syndrome or Trisomy 8, are at greater risk of developing AML.

 

Symptoms of AML

Most symptoms of AML are caused by a reduction in the number of healthy blood cells in the body due to the crowding of leukemia cells.

A drop in red blood cell count (anemia) may cause the following signs and symptoms:

    • Fatigue
    • Weakness
    • Feeling cold
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Headaches
    • Pale skin
    • Shortness of breath

    A drop in platelet count may cause easy bruising and bleeding, while a decrease in white blood cells can lead to frequent infections.

    Early signs of AML often mimic symptoms of the flu, such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, bone pain, and shortness of breath.

     

    Types of AML

    There are several types of AML. Once a diagnosis is made, doctors will then figure out the subtype based on laboratory tests. This important information helps them to determine the patient’s outlook and to build a customized treatment plan.
     

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