What Is AML?

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a form of blood cancer that affects myeloid cells. In normal bone marrow, myeloid cells eventually become mature blood cells, including certain types of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Click the diagram on the right to see how blood cells mature from stem cells in the bone marrow. These cells then leave bone marrow to perform protective functions in the blood vessels.

When someone develops AML, the myeloid cells are unable to mature and so continue to multiply in the bone marrow. As they multiply, they take up the space needed for healthy cells to mature and grow, and this is what causes the symptoms of AML and a patient to feel unwell.

We don’t know exactly what causes AML, but there is a lot of research going on to help us understand the risk factors and treat the disease better.

AML develops rapidly and so it is crucial that treatment starts as soon as possible. Once an AML diagnosis has been made, you and your healthcare team will have to work together to quickly decide the most appropriate treatment. Support during this difficult time is also available from patient groups.

 Watch the videos below to learn more about this disease.



I've Been Diagnosed With Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): What Happens Now?

At the stage of diagnosis, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients often have to be hospitalized, due to the severe symptoms presented. Dr. Charles Craddock of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK, describes next steps.


Know Your Diagnosis: How Do AML Cells Change Over Time?

How do AML cells arise and interact with the body? Watch as AML experts discuss the fundamental biology patients should know about their condition.


What to Consider When Starting AML Treatment

With a moving target like AML, who should patients consult with? What factors are taken into account when making treatment decisions? Find out now from the AML experts.


How Can I Find an AML Specialist?

Leukemia expert Dr. Gwen Nichols joined us at ASH 2017 to share a valuable resource for patients to use to access a specialist with extensive AML care experience and discover the full range of treatment options available.



A Patient’s AML Journey and How Genetic Testing Made a Difference

How much can genetic testing really help? Watch now to hear AML patient Kuldip Ahluwalia’s journey with a life-changing diagnosis and how genetic testing affected his treatment.


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Page last updated on September 20, 2018