Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is also sometimes called acute myeloid leukemia. In AML, the bone marrow makes many cancerous cells called leukemic blasts. Normal blasts develop into white blood cells that fight infection. In AML, the leukemic blasts do not develop properly and cannot fight infections. These leukemic blasts grow quickly and crowd out the bone marrow, preventing it from making the normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that the body needs.
Nearly 15,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with AML each year.1 AML can affect people of any age, but it is most common in adults. The cause of AML is unknown.
1. Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Neyman N, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2010/, based on November 2012 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER website, April 2013.