Acute Myeloid Leukemia

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Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. The word "acute" in acute myelogenous leukemia means the disease's rapid progression. It's called myelogenous leukemia because it affects a group of white blood cells called the myeloid cells, which normally develop into the various types of mature blood cells, such as erythocytes, leukocytes and thrombocytes. A myelocyte is a young cell of the granulocytic series, occurring normally in bone marrow, but not in the circulating blood . Acute myelogenous leukemia is also known as acute myeloid leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.(Mayo Clinic, 2010) Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common types of leukemia among adults. This type of cancer is rare under age 40 and generally occurs around age 60. Typically AML is more common in men than women. Persons with this type of cancer have abnormal cells inside their bone marrow. The cells grow very fast, and replace healthy blood cells. The bone marrow, which helps the body fight infections, eventually stops working correctly. Individual with AML become more prone to infections and have an increased risk for bleeding as the numbers of healthy blood cells decrease. There are very few hereditary causes of acute myeloid leukemia. Certain carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) have been implicated in the cause of acute myeloid leukemia, including benzene, tobacco smoke, and ionizing radiation. The most important risk factor for acute myeloid leukemia is advancing age. Acute myeloid leukemia can develop in individuals who have received certain types of chemotherapy to treat other cancers. When this occurs, the leukemia is said to be a secondary acute myeloid leukemia. A pre-leukemic disorder termed myelodysplasia, common in older individuals, is also an important risk factor for acute myeloid leukemia. (Cutler 2005) The...
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