What is AML?

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a form of blood cancer that affects myeloid cells. In normal bone marrow, myeloid cells eventually become mature blood cells, including certain types of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Click  the diagram on the right to see how blood cells mature from stem cells in the bone marrow. These cells then leave bone marrow to perform protective functions in the blood vessels.

When someone develops AML, the myeloid cells are unable to mature and so continue to multiply in the bone marrow. As they multiply, they take up the space needed for healthy cells to mature and grow, and this is what causes the symptoms of AML and a patient to feel unwell.

 We don’t know exactly what causes AML, but there is a lot of research going on to help us understand the risk factors and treat the disease better.

 AML develops rapidly and so it is crucial that treatment starts as soon as possible. Once an AML diagnosis has been made, you and your healthcare team will have to work together to quickly decide the most appropriate treatment. Support during this difficult time is also available from patient groups.

 Watch the videos below to learn more about this disease.

 

Videos

How Can Clinical Trials Be Improved to Enhance the Patient Experience?

Patient advocate Jim Omel and leading expert Dr. Mike Thompson break down the design and purpose of clinical trials and give their perspective on how it could be more patient-friendly.

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Accessing and Integrating Mind-Body Medicine Resources Into Your Care

How can patients utilize mind-body medicine resources to complement their cancer care? Certified yoga therapist Raquel Jex Forsgren and expert Dr. Ishwaria Subbiah share ways to find and incorporate them into your wellness routine.

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How Can Your Data Sharing Improve Cancer Treatment?

How can patients become actively involved in improving cancer care for all with just a few clicks? Can your electronic medical record be used to drive research forward? Find out now from CLL survivor and patient advocate, Larry Saltzman.

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Understanding Supportive Care: Terms and Resources to Know

Expert Dr. Ishwaria Subbiah explains what tools are available to help support patients on their treatment journey, from body pain and symptom management to spiritual and emotional distress.

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Does the Clinical Trial Process Need an Extreme Makeover?

In this MythBusters program, patient advocate Jim Omel and Dr. Michael Thompson examine barriers patients may face and discuss the safety and quality of clinical trial care. Does the process need a makeover? Watch now to find out more.

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Chemo vs. Transplants: What Is the Purpose and Value of Each AML Treatment Method?

There are several treatment methods used for AML patients, but which one is right for you? AML expert Dr. Gwen Nichols gives information on procedure, purpose and value to help patients find the best approach.

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How Likely Is It for a Patient's Myelofibrosis or MDS to Transform Into AML?

What percentage of people with MDS or an MPN transform into AML? Our expert panel explains the signs to look for and what tests are done for patient risk assessment.

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What Is Genomic Testing?

What is genomic testing, and why should cancer patients inquire? Watch to learn more.

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AML Patient Insight: Resources to Consider to Help Reach Treatment Goals

How can AML patients establish a good foundation with their health care team and get the most out of doctor visits? Watch now to hear from our expert panel valuable tools for patients to use on their treatment journey.

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Page last updated on May 17, 2017