A C U T E M Y E L O B L A S T I C L E U K E M I A (A M L )
What is AML?
Other names for AML
AML is a cancer o he white blood cells. In most cases of AML, the body makes too many
white blood cells called myeloblasts. ese immature blood cells cannot ght infection as well
Acute myeloid leukemia
as normal white blood cells do. As more myeloblasts are made, they keep normal blood cells
from growing. is can lead to infections, bleeding problems, and anemia (loss of red blood Acute myelogenous leukemia
cells) and threaten major organs, such as the brain and spinal cord, if not treated quickly. Acute granulocytic leukemia
Who gets AML?
Adults over the age of 65 years are most likely to get AML. But it can ect people at any age.
What happens with treatment? Radiation therapy — uses high-energy x-rays Immunotherapy — uses drugs that kill cancer
to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be cells directly or help the immune system kill
AML must be treated quickly because the patient given to patients with high-risk leukemia to those cells
is at high risk for infection and bleeding. is treat cancer cells in the brain and spinal cord.
type of leukemia may be treated with:
e treatment may also keep cancer cells from
about a remission. This means that:
Chemotherapy — uses drugs to kill cancer cells. spreading to those parts o he body
Drugs that go into the bloodstream can reach No myeloblasts are seen in the blood or bone
Stem cell transplantation — replaces blood
cancer cells in most parts of the body. Drugs that marrow (the so tissue inside the bones where
cells killed er high-dose chemotherapy and
go into the spinal uid can reach cancer cells blood cells are made)
radiation with stem cells that can make new
that spread to the brain and spinal cord blood cells e body is making normal blood cells and
blood counts return to normal
e body function returns to normal and health
and well-being are restored
ere is no sign of AML in any other part of
Weed the body
Cancer cells Chemotherapy kills the weeds
are like weeds (the cancer cells) that crowd out
in a garden. healthy plants (the blood cells).
A CUTE M YELO BLASTI C L E U K E MIA (AML)
What happens first? How to make it easier to get through treatment
Chemotherapy can injure any cell in the body that grows or divides
quickly. is may cause side e ects, such as:
Infection Hair loss Nausea
Phases of Chemotherapy for AML Mouth sores Vomiting Diarrhea
Phase 1: Getting high doses of drugs to kill cancer cells in the Patients who have certain types of cancer or are starting some kinds of
Induction blood and bone marrow and bring about a remission. chemotherapy may also be at risk for tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). TLS
may damage the kidneys, heart, and other organs when large numbers of
Phase 2: Getting high doses of drugs to kill any cancer cells that
Postremission cancer cells are killed o very fast. Organ damage can be prevented if
are le in the body a er a remission. Stem cell
high-risk patients are treated before they start chemotherapy.
transplantation may also be done.
Tips on how to cope with the side effects of treatment:
Report signs of infection (such as a fever) and health concerns
How do we know if the treatment is working?
to the doctor or nurse as soon as you notice them
Tests show how well treatment is working and check for any health problems.
Report signs of redness or skin changes a er radiation therapy
to the doctor or nurse
Complete blood Measures the number of each type of blood cell
count Tell the medical team about all other
medicines the patient is taking Wher e to learn more
Blood chemistry Check for abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the
Learn how to care for the central line
tests body that could be signs of health problems ukemia &
(the tube in the chest through which
Bone marrow Shows if there are cancer cells in the bone marrow chemotherapy is given). And be sure
aspiration to ask the nurses for other self-care
tips. Nurses are great teachers
Lumbar puncture Shows if ther National Cancer Institute
Try to drink lots of uids, eat well, www.cancer.gov/leukemia
or spinal tap
and take care of the teeth and gums 800-4-CANCER (422-6237)
Ask about medicines to control People Living With Cancer
nausea, ease pain, or keep side e ects www.plwc.org
from getting worse 703-797-1914
Share feelings with others
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