Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia: A Guide for Patients

Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What is acute myeloblastic leukaemia?

Acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML) is a type of cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells. The term “acute” describes a rapid progression, and “myeloblastic” denotes the origin from myeloid cells. Myeloid cells are immature cells that normally become mature red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. Excess production of immature myleloid cells in the bone marrow ultimately prevents the normal production of red blood cells, resulting in anaemia and decreased production of platelets, or thrombocytompenia. Patients with AML seek medical care due to fatigue from anaemia, or bleeding and bruising from insufficient platelets. Without enough normally functioning white blood cells the body’s immune system becomes weak and susceptible to infection.

Beyond a definition of acute myeloblastic leukaemia, in this guide you will also find answers to questions such as:

  • Is acute myeloblastic leukaemia frequent?
  • What causes acute myeloblastic leukaemia?
  • How is acute myeloblastic leukaemia diagnosed?
  • What is important to know to get the optimal treatment?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What happens after the treatment?

This guide for patients has been prepared in collaboration with Anti-Cancer Fund as a service to patients, to help patients and their relatives better understand the nature of Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia and appreciate the best treatment choices available according to the subtype of Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia. ESMO recommends that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of disease.

Patient Guides for Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia were published in 2011.