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Understanding AML

Causes & symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia include shortness of breath, bruising, fever, weakness, and infection. Usually, acute myeloid leukemia develops quickly and worsens unless it is treated. The animation below provides a summary of the signs and symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia.

What are the causes of acute myeloid leukemia?

We do not fully understand why certain genetic abnormalities cause a blood cell to become abnormal and develop into a leukemia cell. However, certain risk factors may increase the chance of developing acute myeloid leukemia. Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will develop acute myeloid leukemia, and someone without any of these risk factors can still develop acute myeloid leukemia. The possible risk factors for acute myeloid leukemia include the following:

  • Old age (acute myeloid leukemia is more common as people grow older, but acute myeloid leukemia can develop at any age)
  • Sex (acute myeloid leukemia is more common in men than women)
  • Being exposed to high-dose radiation or chemicals, such as benzene (an industrial solvent) and some detergents
  • Previously having chemotherapy or radiotherapy for other cancers
  • Smoking
  • Previously having a blood disease, such as a myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Being born with a genetic disorder

Acute myeloid leukemia is not an inherited condition and cannot be transferred from one person to another.

Do you feel more knowledgeable about the symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia having watched this video?

Do you feel more informed about the causes of acute myeloid leukemia having read this information?

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What is acute myeloid leukemia?Causes & symptomsDiagnosisTypesTreatmentPrognosisRemissionRelapseCOVID-19Caregivers

Latest story

Hear from Dorcas about her experience of caring for someone with acute myeloid leukemia.

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