Procedure for Cancer - Acute myeloid leukamia


What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a cancer which arises in the bone marrow leading to an overproduction of the abnormal white blood cells. White blood cells are required to maintain the immunity of the body. When these cells become poorly developed and abnormal, one has an increased risk of infections. There are 4 types of leukemia which are described below.

  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Acute types of leukemia are characterized by a rapid increase of immature blood cells. Whereas, chronic types of leukemia are characterized by a slower growth of mature blood cells. Myeloid type of leukemia originates from the blood cells which develop as white blood cells (except for lymphocytes and other blood cells such as red blood cells). Lymphocytic type of leukemia arises from the blood cells called lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells – T cells or B cells).

Acute myeloid leukemia can be explained as the rapid increase of immature cells which are going to develop as white blood cells or other red blood cells. It is a common type of leukemia; which can spread quickly to the blood and other parts of the body such as lymph nodes, liver, spleen, brain and spinal cord.

What are The Causes and Risk Factors for Leukemia?

Most of the cases of leukemia don’t have any obvious cause. However research states that it develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the causes are given below:

  • Genetic disorders – Mutation of the blood cells.
  • More common in males
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to chemicals or radiation (previous chemotherapy)

Signs and Symptoms of Leukemia

Physical signs of leukemia are common to most of the leukemia types. Therefore specific laboratory tests are needed for an accurate diagnosis of leukemia. Some of the common signs of leukemia and symptoms are given below.

  • Anaemia – Feeling tiredness, light-headedness
  • Prone to get infections – Due to lack of normal white blood cells
  • Fever or chills/Flu-like symptoms
  • Excessive night sweats
  • Bone Pain
  • Headaches
  • Small red spots on the skin
  • Weight loss
  • Painful and swollen lymph nodes
  • Easy bruising
  • Enlargement of liver of spleen

Stages of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

There are eight stages of acute myeloid leukemia. Those stages are explained below. Survival rate and the treatment type may change according to the stage.

Severity increased

  • M0 - Bone marrow cells show no signs of differentiation
  • M1 - Show some signs of differentiation
  • M2 - Maturation of bone marrow cells
  • M3 - Varying amount of white blood cell maturation
  • M4,M5 - Abnormal white blood cells contained in blood circulation
  • M6 - Contained abnormal red blood cells
  • M7 - Extensive fibrous deposition of bone marrow

Survival Rate/Life Expectancy of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia can affect both children and adults; however, it is commonly seen in adults. Even though a 5 years survival rate of acute myeloid leukemia is 26%, life expectancy can be enhanced with effective and accurate treatment. Patients younger than 60 years of age respond well to treatment and 70% to 80% of them go into remission stage of their cancer after the effective treatments.

Treatment Options for Acute Myeloid Leukemia?

  • An early diagnosis and treatment for acute myeloid leukemia is necessary for this condition because of its progressive nature. The preferred treatment is chemotherapy. It can be continued in two phases as remission phase and post-remission phase.
  • Radiotherapy can be also used in combination with chemotherapy.
  • In its advance stage, stem cell transplantation can be done.
  • Surgery is the best option in severe cases when it affects liver and spleen.

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