Acute Myelogenous Leukemia—Adult
(AML—Adult; Acute Myeloid Leukemia—Adult; Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia—Adult; Acute Granulocytic Leukemia—Adult; Acute Nonlymphoblastic Leukemia—Adult)
DefinitionAcute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. With AML, the bone marrow makes abnormal blood cells including:
- Myeloblasts—a type of white blood cell; white blood cells fight infection
- Red blood cells (RBCs)—carry oxygen
- Platelets—makes blood clot, stops bleeding in cuts or bruises
|White Blood Cells|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesCancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant growths. These growths can invade nearby tissues. Cancer that has invaded nearby tissues can then spread to other parts of the body.It is not clear exactly what causes these problems in the cells, but it is probably a combination of genetics and environment.
Risk FactorsCurrent or past smoking is strongly associated with AML. Risk is compounded by how much you smoked and for how long. AML is more common in men.Other factors that may increase your chance of AML include:
- Certain genetic disorders.
- Previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment.
- Previous treatment for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Hodgkin’s disease , non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma , and certain other cancers.
- History of a blood disorder, such as myelodysplastic syndrome —Precancerous changes in the white cells and precursor cells of the bone marrow.
- Exposure to the chemical benzene.
- Exposure to atomic bomb radiation or a nuclear reactor accident.
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