Acute myelocytic leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia is the most common acute leukemia type that affects adults. Other names for AML that refer to the same disease are acute myeloid leukemia and acute myeloblastic leukemia. AML is sometimes referred to as acute myelo cancer, acute myelo leukemia and acute myeloid cancer.
AML is an aggressive form of cancer of the blood and the bone marrow, characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal white blood cells. The myeloid blood stem cells of the bone marrow develop into abnormal, poorly formed myeloblasts and do not become healthy white blood cells.
The incidence of myeloblastic leukemia in the USA is of about 1 case in 100 000 persons per year during the first 20 years of life, with a later increase to around 20 cases in 100 000 persons per year for octogenarians. Myeloid leukemia progresses rapidly and can typically be fatal within weeks or months.
Most signs and symptoms of AML are caused by the decreased ability of the body to fight off infection due to the replacement of normal blood cells with leukemic cells.
The symptoms of myelogenous leukemia are generally vague and non-specific. All or some of the following symptoms may be experienced by the person affected:
• Lethargy, chronic fatigue
• Fever (usually of unknown origin)
• Shortness of breath
• Inexplicable weight loss
• Frequent infections
• Pale skin, skin rash
• Non-specific bone pain
• Easy bruising
• Unusual bleeding such as nose or gum bleeding
• Blood in urine or stools
• Enlarged lymph nodes and/or spleen
• Abdominal fullness
Other symptoms of myelo leukemia include anemia, tumors of leukemic cells in the lung, breast, brain, uterus, ovary, stomach or prostate.
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