Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Child in hospital bed with parents by her side

If you suspect that your child may have AML, there are several diagnostic tests that can be performed to confirm the disease. Blood tests can assess the number of cells, their type, and maturity levels. Imaging studies, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds, may be taken as well in order to get a better view of the problem.

Diagnostic Tests to Confirm AML

  • Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
    A thin needle is inserted into the hip to extract and analyze abnormal cells.
  • Flow Cytometry Tests
    These tests examine the properties of the cancer cells to confirm the specific type of leukemia.
  • Chromosomal Analysis
    The leukemia cells are studied to determine the subtype of AML.
  • Spinal Tap or Lumbar Puncture
    A needle is inserted between the large bones in the backbone in order to draw out a sample of spinal fluid. This test shows if the Central Nervous System (CNS) has been affected by the cancer cells.

Once a physician has confirmed an AML diagnosis, it is time to immediately begin a treatment regimen. Treatments will vary, depending on when the disease is diagnosed. There are generally four groups a patient can fall under, and these will affect treatment as well.

Patient Groupings that Affect Treatment

  • Untreated
    These patients have never had, or been treated for, AML. Chemo is the primary treatment and intrathecal chemo (IT) and radiation to the brain may also be administered.
  • In Remission
    Patients have undergone treatment, and the number of white blood cells is within the normal range again. Chemo to the CNS may be given as protection.
  • Recurrent
    Patients have been treated previously, and the cancer is back. New treatments will be based upon prior treatments. Patients in this group are encouraged to participate in clinical trials.
  • Refractory
    Patient has had unsuccessful treatments, and the cancer is still present. Treatments are up for discussion.

Other treatments include bone marrow transplantation, cord blood transplantation, and biological or immunotherapy.

Having a child diagnosed with AML is a terrible scenario, but thanks to advances in therapy and clinical trials, most children can be cured. It is important to learn all you can about the illness and recognize its beginning symptoms to have the best chance at recovery.

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Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

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4 comments

  1. LIZ says:

    nice reading tnx so much

  2. Kelly says:

    This is so sad and it affects so many children. My heart goes out to all who are battling this. Win or lose you are in my thoughts and prayers always <3

  3. Timothy says:

    Still praying and No Meeka yet.. less then a week now…

  4. Timothy says:

    I pray every single day that Meeka will be a healthy baby. I have CLL I wonder what her chaces of getting AML are ? Is it higher because I have CLL ? I pray not so. Under 2 weeks for due date of Meeka being here.. We are getting soooo excited.. Much love to everyone out there today and always. tim

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