fade fade
 

About AML


The Friends of John Wilson


Audio / Video


Photo Albums


Donations


Johnsfight.org Store


Join Our Mailing List


 

 

Leukemia

What is leukemia?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Blood cells are made by your bone marrow, which is the soft tissue in the middle of most bones. In leukemia, the bone marrow starts making too many white blood cells, and sometimes these cells don't work right. These cells keep growing when they are supposed to stop. They also grow faster than your other cells. Over time, these abnormal cells crowd out your normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

Your white blood cells help your body fight infection. Your red blood cells make sure all your body parts have the oxygen they need. Your platelets keep you from bleeding too much. When the leukemia cells crowd out your normal cells, your blood cannot do its job. You may bleed or bruise easily, get sick more often, and feel very tired.

Are there different types of leukemia?

There are four main types of leukemia. Acute leukemia gets worse very quickly. People with acute leukemia often feel sick right away. Chronic leukemia gets worse slowly, and you may not have any symptoms until later on in the illness. Those two kinds of leukemia are divided according to which kind of white blood cells are involved, lymphocytes or myelocytes.

* Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). ALL is the most common leukemia in children.
* Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). AML affects both children and adults.
* Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). CLL is the most common leukemia in adults, especially older adults. It mostly affects people who are older than 55.
* Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). CML occurs mostly in adults.

What causes leukemia?

Experts do not know what causes leukemia. They do not know why some people get it and others do not. It is likely that the different types of leukemia have different causes.

Research has shown that some people may be more likely to get leukemia. A risk factor is anything that raises your chance of getting a disease. Risk factors for leukemia include chemotherapy treatment, being exposed to large amounts of radiation or some chemicals in the workplace, and smoking and tobacco use.

Most people who get leukemia do not have any risk factors.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

* Fevers and night sweats.
* Frequent infections.
* Weakness and fatigue.
* Headaches.
* Bruising of the skin and bleeding from the gums or rectum.
* Bone pain.
* Joint pain.
* Swelling in the belly or pain on the left side of the belly.
* Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, or groin.
* Decreased appetite and weight loss because you feel full and don't want to eat.

The chronic forms of leukemia often cause no symptoms at first.

How is leukemia diagnosed?

If your doctor thinks you might have leukemia, he or she will ask questions about your past and present symptoms, do a physical exam, and order blood tests.

If your blood tests are not normal, a test of cells from inside your bone marrow, called a bone marrow biopsy, is usually needed to diagnose leukemia.

How is it treated?

Treatment depends on what kind of leukemia you have and how far along it is. Treatment can range from watchful waiting to a stem cell transplant. Usually it includes chemotherapy and sometimes radiation treatments.

Information shown here courtesy of WebMD.com

 

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer that causes the body to produce an increased number of the white blood cells that normally help fight infection (myelocytes). It sometimes is referred to as acute myeloid leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, myeloblastic leukemia, granulocytic leukemia, or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

AML is more common in men than in women. The incidence of AML increases with age.

AML is an acquired rather than inherited disease. Usually the cause of AML is unknown. But it may be caused by high doses of radiation, exposure to the chemical benzene, smoking and other tobacco use, and chemotherapy used to treat other types of cancer. It also is more common in children with Down syndrome or other genetic conditions.

Symptoms of AML include weakness and fatigue, fever, poor appetite, easy bruising or bleeding, and weight loss.

Treatment for AML usually includes chemotherapy. Older adults do not tolerate or respond to treatment as well as younger people do.


More information about Leukemia can be found at the following websites:

WebMD

Leukemia Society

Copyright®2008 - Johnsfight.org