Childhood Cancer

Childhood Leukemia

Chapter 4: Acute Myeloid Leukemia

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

— Joseph Campbell

LEUKEMIA IS THE TERM USED to describe cancer that begins in the bone marrow. This spongy material fills the bones in the body and produces blood cells. In a child with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the bone marrow creates millions of cancerous white blood cells (WBCs). As the bone marrow becomes packed with these abnormal cells, they crowd out the healthy cells and symptoms of AML begin to develop.

This chapter covers risk factors for developing AML, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. The treatment section is divided into three parts: (1) treatment for children diagnosed with the type of AML called acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), (2) treatment for children with Down syndrome, and (3) treatment for children with other types of AML. The chapter concludes with ways to learn about the newest treatments available for childhood AML.