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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an overview

What is acute myeloid leukemia?

It is a form of cancer in which immature blood cells called myeloid cells grow and divide unchecked. Myeloid cells are precursors to more blood cells, including red blood cells. The uncontrolled growth as the number of hematopoietic cells makes it less of the normal blood cells, ie red and white blood cells and platelets. The cancer can be divided into subgroups assuming the cancer cells' appearance and biochemical properties. The abnormal cells can be seen in both bone marrow and blood.

The symptoms usually develop over a relatively short period. Common symptoms are:

  • Weakness and fatigue caused by low blood count
  • Frequent infections caused by fewer healthy immune cells.
  • Bleeding in the skin and mucous membranes due to fewer platelets

acute myeloid leukemia life expectancy

Other symptoms may include blurred vision or double vision, rash, headache, nausea and vomiting (as an expression of irritation to the meninges). A minority complained of bone and joint pain. Up to 50% of patients have had symptoms for three months before diagnosis.

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