Leukemia is a type of cancer that develops in the bone marrow. With acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloid cells that are precursors to blood cells, including:
The leukemia cells do not function normally. They cannot do what normal blood cells do, like fight infections. The abnormal cells also overgrow the bone marrow, forcing normal cells out. Without normal cells, anemia and bleeding problems develop. They also cannot fight infections properly.
Risk factors include:
These symptoms may be due to other conditions. If your child has any of these, talk to the doctor.
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will check for swelling of the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. Tests may include:
Once AML is identified, it can be classified. These subtypes are based on the type of cell from which leukemia developed. This is important because it can help the doctor make a prognosis and develop a treatment plan.
Bone Marrow Biopsy
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Talk with the doctor about the best plan for your child. Treatment of AML usually involves two phases:
Treatment options include:
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
BC Cancer Agency
American Cancer Society. Leukemia in children detailed guide. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/LeukemiainChildren/DetailedGuide/index . Accessed July 13, 2010.
Children’s Hospital Boston. Leukemia. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1236/mainpageS1236P0.html . Accessed July 13, 2010.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 13, 2010. Accessed July 14, 2010.
Mayo Clinic. Acute myelogenous leukemia. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acute-myelogenous-leukemia/DS00548 . Updated July 8, 2010. Accessed July 14, 2010.
McCoy K. Acute myelogenous leukemia. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated June 25, 2010. Accessed July 14, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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