What is Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are attacked by bone marrow, which is a soft inner part of the bones. Without proper treatment, acute myeloid leukemia can be fatal, as it can spread very quickly to the blood and other parts of the body. Fever, fatigue, and bleeding are symptoms of the disease. Leukemia mainly targets the red and white blood cells and platelets. Acute myeloid leukemia is also known as acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia. The disease can affect liver, brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, and testicles
There are a number of symptoms of AML, which may include:
- Loss of weight.
- Night sweats.
- Feeling cold all the time.
- Shortness of breath.
- Joint pain.
- Painful bleeding gums.
AML is caused due to destruction of DNA inside the cells of the bones, which is called a bone marrow. Causes of this disease include:
- Imbalance in blood cells.
- Use of certain chemicals and chemotherapy drugs.
There are a few factors that cause the disease:
- Heavy consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
- High dose radiation.
- Blood disorder.
AML is not preventable, but precautions can be taken to reduce the chances of getting the disease. The measures of prevention include:
- Quitting smoke.
- Avoiding the use of certain drugs and chemicals (especially cancer-related chemicals and chemotherapy).
How is it diagnosed?
The disease needs to be diagnosed at the earliest to ensure quick treatment. At Medanta, the doctor will begin by examining patient history, and conduct a physical test. The tests for the diagnosis include:
- Taking a blood test
- Peripheral blood smear
- Cytogenetic analysis