Adult acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. This type of cancer usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. With AML the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. Sometimes in AML, too many stem cells become abnormal red blood cells or platelets. These abnormal white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets are also called leukaemia cells or blasts.

Leukaemia cells can build up in the bone marrow and blood so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. When this happens, infection, anemia, or easy bleeding may occur. The leukaemia cells can spread outside the blood to other parts of the body, including the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), skin, and gums.

There are different subtypes of AML.

Possible signs of adult AML include fever, weakness or feeling tired, and easy bruising or bleeding, Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding), shortness of breath, weight loss or loss of appetite.

Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect (find) and diagnose adult AML.

Smoking, previous chemotherapy treatment, and exposure to radiation may affect the risk of adult AML.

First-line treatment of AML consists primarily of chemotherapy, and is divided into two phases: induction and postremission (or consolidation) therapy. The goal of induction therapy is to achieve a complete remission by reducing the number of leukemic cells to an undetectable level; the goal of consolidation therapy is to eliminate any residual undetectable disease and achieve a cure.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is usually considered if induction chemotherapy fails or after a patient relapses, although transplantation is also sometimes used as front-line therapy for patients with high-risk disease.

About Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)


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**Can I still register if I'm over 30?

The Anthony Nolan register accepts people between the ages of 16-30, however if you are over 31 you can still become a stem cell donor.

To everyone over 30 who can't join the Anthony Nolan register. You can choose now to join via

Delete Blood Cancer UK (DKMS) (T: 020 3176 7620) 

Up to 55 years and over 7st / (50 kg) in weight.

Register online and have a swab kit sent to your home address. If you are lucky enough to be a match, it is as easy as giving blood.  

Or you can register by becoming a blood donor with NHS and inform the nurse on your first appointment that you would like to register as a bone marrow donor.

NHS Bone Marrow Registry (T: 0300 123 2323)

Up to 49 years and over 7st / (50 kg) in weight.

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