Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

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Symptoms and Risk Factors


At first, the symptoms of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) may feel like the symptoms of the flu or another common virus. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms increase and may include any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Weakness
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Shortness of breath
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, groin or underarms, or above the collarbone
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Swollen, painful, bleeding gums
  • Swelling of the abdomen (may indicate an enlarged liver or spleen)
  • Headache
  • Trouble with balance
  • Spots on the skin (petechiae)

Risk Factors

Anything about you that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor, but having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will certainly get the disease. Nor does not having a risk factor mean you can’t get the disease. Risk factors are merely indicators. The following are risk factors for AML:

  • Smoking
  • Male gender 
  • Exposure to benzene
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • High-dose radiation exposure as from an atomic bomb blast
  • Having certain blood disorders, such as myeloproliferative disorders
  • Inherited syndromes, such as Down syndrome, Fanconi anemia or Bloom syndrome