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What is acute myeloid leukemia?

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Quick Answer

Acute myeloid leukemia or AML is a type of blood cancer. AML normally develops from cells that turn into white blood cells such as lymphocytes, although sometimes it can develop from other blood-forming cells, according to WebMD.

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What is acute myeloid leukemia?
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Full Answer

AML is a cancer that starts in cells found in the bone marrow. When a blood-forming cell turns into a leukemia cell, it grows and divides, taking over the bone marrow and spilling out into the bloodstream to other organs, according to the American Cancer Society. This type of leukemia can spread quickly to the blood and organs such as the lymph nodes, the liver, the spleen, testicles, the brain and the spinal cord, notes WebMD.

Early stages of AML may include flu-like symptoms or symptoms of other common diseases. As the disease progresses, symptoms vary depending on the types of blood cells affected but may include fever, bone pain, lethargy, fatigue and shortness of breath as well as pale skin, frequent infections, easy bruising and unusual bleeding such as frequent nosebleeds and bleeding from the gums, according to Mayo Clinic. Treatment of AML depends on the patient’s age, health and preferences. It also depends on the subtype of the disease, and may include chemotherapy, other drug therapies and stem cell transplant.

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