Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment
Acute myeloblastic leukemia is a blood and bone marrow cancer. The bone marrow is where the blood cells are manufactured in the body and they appear spongy. In acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute mylegenous leukemia the word "acute" means that the disease progresses rapidly. Myelogenous means that the blood cells that affected are mainly white cells known as myeloid cells. This cell later develops into white blood cells platelets and red blood cells in maturity.
Acute myeloid leukemia is another name for acute myeloblastic leukemia. It is also called acute nonlymphocytic leukemia and acute granulocytic leukemia.
Causes of Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
When DNA of cells that are developing are damaged, it causes acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia in the bone marrow. This is when the process of production of blood goes awry. Immature blood cells are produced by the bone marrow and they develop into leukemia white blood cells known as myeloblasts. These cells when they accumulate will outnumber the good cells which disturb the functionality of the normal cells. The abnormal cells cannot be able to function well like the normal cells.
The cause of the mutation of the DNA which leads to leukemia is not clear. The risk factors that bring up the condition of acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia are chemotherapy drugs and radiation exposure and some chemicals.
Signs and Symptoms of Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
Signs and symptoms that generally appear at the early stage may resemble those of common diseases like flu. The blood cells that are affected by acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia will exhibit varying signs and symptoms. Acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia signs and symptoms may include the following:
- Bone pain
- Breathing difficulties
- The skin becomes pale
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Easy to get bruised
- Bleeding unusually for example nose bleeding frequently and gum bleeding.
Risk Factors for Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
The risk factors that may increase due to acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia are:
- Aging. With increasing age there will be high chances of contracting acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia. Adults who are 65 years and above are mostly affected by it.
- Different sexes. Men are more vulnerable to contract acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia.
- History of cancer treatment. Acute myeloblastic leukemia can be easily developed by individuals who have been exposed to radiation and any chemotherapy.
- Radiation exposure. Individual who have been exposed to radiation in levels that are extreme have chances of getting acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia. Example is people who have had accidents in nuclear reactors.
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals. Being exposed to chemicals that are dangerous for example benzene is attributed to elevating the risk of contracting acute myeloblastic leukemia.
- Smoking. Smoking cigarette has been regarded to be contributing to the contraction of acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia because of benzene which is a chemical which causes cancer.
- Blood disorders. People with history of any blood disorder for example thrombocythemia polycythemia and myelodysplasia have higher risks.
- Genetic disorders. Down syndrome is such an example of certain disorders of the genes which are linked to be increasing the risk of acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia development.
A lot of people having acute myeloblastic leukemiahave no risk factors that are known and there are some individuals who have risk factors but they do not develop cancer.
Tests to Diagnose Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
If you develop signs and symptoms of AML you doctor will recommend that you undergo some diagnostic examination.
- Blood test for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: Individuals who are suffering from acute myeloblastic leukemia tend to have surplus white blood cells but scarce red blood cells and inadequate platelets. Another indication that is evident is that there will be cells that are blasted. Immature cells will normally appear at the bone marrow but none will be found in the circulatory system.
- Bone marrow examination for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: Blood test may show the presence of leukemia but in order to ascertain the diagnosis, bone marrow test must be conducted. When conducting biopsy of the bone marrow, what is used to collect samples from your bone marrow is a needle. After collecting another sample from your hipbone (posterior iliac crest) these sample is taken for a laboratory test.
- Spinal tap/lumbar punctures for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: Leukemia cells can be necessarily sought from the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. A small needle can be inserted by your doctor through your spinal canal via the lower back.
You can be referred to a cancer specialist (oncologist) after your doctor has ascertained that you have leukemia. You can also be referred to (hematologist) a specialist of blood and blood-forming tissues.
Determining the Subtype of Your Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia Or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
If the doctor has confirmed that you have acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia, further tests are recommended in order to tell the subtype of the acute myeloblastic leukemia for further classification. Microscopic examination of your cells is necessary in order to ascertain the subtype of your acute myeloblastic leukemia. Specialized laboratory testing is applicable to know the special characteristics that your cells have.
In order to know the nature of treatment that you need, the subtype of your acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia has to be determined. Further studies are being conducted by the doctors regarding the different treatments available in order to tackle cancer which affects different individuals having varied acute myeloblastic leukemia subtypes.
Treatment for Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
Several factors affect the mode of treating acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia. The age, the subtype, your personal preferences and your health overly will affect the treatment process. Two phases are often involved in the treatment process:
- Remission induction therapy: This first phase entails the killing of leukemia cells in the bone marrow and in your blood. All leukemia cells are not usually wiped out in total in this first phase. Thus further treatment is needed in order to prevent recurrence.
- Consolidation therapy: This process is known as post-remission therapy, intensification, or maintenance therapy. The target of this process is to destroy the leukemia cells that are remaining.
These phases include the following therapies for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia:
- Chemotherapy foracute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: The main form of remission induction therapy is chemotherapy. Nevertheless, this can be consolidation therapy. Cancer cells in the body are killed by chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, patients with AML are always staying in hospital. The reason is because many normal cells are destroyed during chemotherapy treatment. This is usually when leukemia cells are being killed. Repetition of the first phase of chemotherapy will be applied if remission is does not happen.
- Other drug therapies for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: There are other anti-cancer drugs that can be combined with chemotherapy or used alone. The main purpose is remission of a particular subtype of acute myeloblastic leukemia known as promyelocytic leukemia. These cancer drugs are all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and Arsenic trioxide (Trisenox). The cancer drugs escalate the growth of cancer cells and die faster when they are matured. These drugs also inhibit the gene mutation from multiplying.
- Stem cell transplant for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: This process is also known as bone marrow transplant can serve as consolidation therapy. The re-establishment of the stem cells that is healthy in order to replace the unhealthy cells in the bone marrow with other cells that do not have leukemia. The new healthy cells will help to regenerate a bone marrow free from unhealthy bone marrow cells that contains leukemia. In order to replace destroy the cells producing leukemia in your bone marrow; you have to undergo massive radiation or chemotherapy. This will always be before undergoing the stem cell transplant. You will then receive compatible stem cells through infusion. A compatible donor will donate the stem cells in a process called allogeneic transplant. If you had removed your stem cells for future use prior to having leukemia with your healthy cells through autologous transplant process, you can receive the stems cells back to your system.
- Clinical trials for acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia: Experimental process may need to experiment on some individuals when there are new therapies that have been combined or other experimental treatments. Thus people with leukemia may enroll on such projects.
Coping with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
Quick decision is demanded by this type of cancer.Acute myeloblastic leukemia may make you face a decision making situation that leaves with limited time to understand about this disease. Outlined below are tips to help you cope with acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia:
- Understand enough about your condition before undertaking any step: Acute myeloblastic leukemia has been known to be a cancer that affects blood and bone marrow. Many people do not understand the fact that this entails a wide variety of cancers. Sometimes you can waste your time researching on the wrong type of leukemia from that which you are suffering from. You should therefore ask your doctor to clearly write down detailed information regarding your type of leukemia. You should then be able to narrow down accordingly your information search.
- Prior to each appointment, you should write down some questions that you will ask your doctor: The internet and your local library can be helpful for sourcing further information. Some valuable sources include leukemia & Lymphoma society, the America Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute.
- Let your friends and family help you: It may prove hard to share information regarding your diagnosis. You will get varied reaction regarding this condition. Talking about your diagnosis might prove helpful. Practical help can come forth due to this.
Make sure you take good care of yourself. Getting caught in procedures of therapy treatment and test can be so easy. It is very important that you take care of you own self not cancer alone. You can be engaged in other diversions like cooking, gardening and yoga as part of your activities.
Prognosis for Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
About 20% of all the people found with acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia will live for 5 years or more after diagnosis. People who are younger do much better than individuals who are older.
- Those aged 14 years or younger, 66% which is 66 individuals in every 100 survives for five years or more after diagnosis.
- 60 out of every 100 people who are aged 15 up to 24 years of age will survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
- In those individuals who are 25 and 64 years of age 40% which is 40 out of every individual will survive after diagnosis.
- Those who are aged 65 and above 5% (5 out of 100 individuals) will survive for more than five years after being diagnosed.
Factor Affecting the Prognosis of Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia or Acute Granulocytic Leukemia
Prognostic factors are some things that affect the outcome of your disease. Acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia prognostic factors that proves hard treating if:
- You are 60 years and above.
- The count of your blood cell is high during diagnosis.
- Previous cancer treatment or a condition known as myelodysplasia which may have resulted into the contraction of acute myeloblastic leukemia or acute granulocytic leukemia.
- Mutations/genetic changes in the leukemia cells.
- More than two cycles of chemotherapy is required for full control of leukemia.