Monday, 22 April 2013

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

I have researched some information about the cancer I had, AML and wanted to explain AML in more detail so it is easier to understand. 

What is AML?

AML is a type of Leukaemia, It stands for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
 Leukaemia is a cancer of the white blood cells and people diagnosed with it usually have more white blood cells than normal. AML is a rare type of cancer and can affect people at any age but is more common in people aged over 65. 
Around 2,500 people are diagnosed with AML each year in the UK.
Normally, blood cells are made in the bone marrow in an orderly and controlled way. In people with AML this process becomes out of control and many abnormal leukaemia cells are made. These immature cells are not able to develop into normal functioning blood cells.
In AML too many early myeloid cells are made.
 In most types of AML the leukaemia cells are immature white blood cells.
The immature cells fill up the bone marrow, taking up space that’s needed to make normal blood cells. Some leukaemia cells ‘spill over’ into the blood and circulate around the body in the bloodstream. These leukaemic cells don’t mature, therefore they don't work properly. This leads to an increased risk of infection, which is a main symptom as well as others such as anaemia and bruising caused by fewer healthy red blood cells and platelets being made.
Causes of AML?
The exact cause of AML are unknown and in most cases it’s unclear why leukaemia has developed. Like other cancers AML is not infectious and cannot be passed on to other people. There are a number of factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing AML. Having a particular risk factor doesn't mean you will definitely get AML, and people without any known risk factors can still develop it. 

The known risk factors of AML are:
Exposure to radiation
Smoking ( I USED to socially smoke)
Exposure to benzene (I used to work as a cleaner, used a lot of cleaning products - contain benzene)
Cancer treatments
Blood disorders
Genetic disorders (none)
I don't know if any of these factors caused me to have cancer and it is something I will never know.

Symptoms of AML?
Most symptoms of AML are due to the effects of the leukaemia cells in the bone marrow, which leave it unable to produce enough normal blood cells.

The main symptoms are:

Looking pale and feeling tired and breathless, which is due to anaemia caused by a lack of red blood cells.
Having more infections than usual, because of a lack of healthy white blood cells.
Unusual bleeding caused by too few platelets - this may include bruising (bruises may appear without any apparent injury), heavy periods in women, bleeding gums, nosebleeds and blood spots or rashes on the skin.
Feeling generally unwell and run down.
Having a fever and sweats.
'The symptoms I had were all of the above but at the time I never thought oh I have leukaemia.' 
Other less common symptoms may be caused by a build-up of leukaemia cells in a particular area of the body. Your bones might ache, caused by the pressure from a build-up of immature cells in the bone marrow. You might also notice raised, bluish-purple areas under the skin due to leukaemia cells in the skin, or swollen gums caused by leukaemia cells in the gums.
Occasionally, a person has no symptoms and the leukaemia is discovered during a routine blood test.
Symptoms may appear over a few weeks and people often feel ill quite quickly. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned here, you should have them checked by your doctor - but please remember these are common symptoms to many illnesses. 
I don't want to scare anyone, just raise awareness :) 

4 comments:

  1. Thank for the info about AML! Its really helps a lot!

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  2. That's okay! Thank you for your comment :)

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  3. Thanks Elisha for the info. very informative. we pray for your quick recovery.
    pray to God, He through the therapies or any of His other ways can restore your health.

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    1. Thank you so much for your consideration and hope. I am happy that you enjoyed reading this post. :)

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