CANCER: Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Acute Myeloid Leukemia abbreviated AML (abbreviations are used to simplify the term [txt bk. pg. 7 ch. 1]) is a cancer of the blood and the bone marrow in the body. In a “normal” human body, there are blast cells that make new bone (known as osteoblasts [txt bk. Pg. 120 ch. 6]), these blast cells make strong healthy mature bone cells (known as osteocytes [txt bk. Pg. 120 ch. 6]) within the body. In a person with AML, these same blast cells do not make healthy bone cells, those with Acute Myeloid Leukemia have cells that grow into abnormal cells also referred to as immature cells (Acute Myeloid Leukemia 2009).
Acute Myeloid Leukemia often affects those of an older age, but is not unknown for affecting children and younger adults either. A majority of the people that are diagnosed with AML have had some type of exposure to a known precursor. One of the known things that are thought to cause AML is the repeated and excessive exposure to radiation. The chemical benzene is another thing that is thought to cause AML (Cherath, 2010). Benzene, also known as Benzol is found in gasoline, plastics, synthetic fibers, glues, cleaning supplies, and dyes (Department of Health Services, Wisconsin.). Those that have had an overexposure to Benzol have tested positive for AML in the past. Persons who have previously been treated for a cancer in the past are also at a higher risk of being diagnosed with AML, especially those that were treated for Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, and testicular or breast cancer (Cherath, 2010). Also persons that have a history of having a disease that damages the bone marrow in the body are at a greater risk for AML. The use of some anticancer medications (mostly drugs used in chemotherapy) also expose people to a higher risk of AML.
In order to be diagnosed with a disease, you need to be experiencing or having some kind of signs (a definitive, measurable indicator) and symptoms (a subjective, more difficult indicator to measure [txt. Bk. Pg.10 ch.1]). Acute Myeloid Leukemia has several different signs and symptoms that one may be experiencing. A general feeling of weakness or chronic fatigue is a symptom that many people experience. Another symptom that AML patients may be experiencing shortness of breath (abbreviated SOB). The SOB is described as a feeling of running out of air when doing something very minor that they have done very easily in the past. Headaches are another symptom of AML, people that have never suffered from any type of headache complain about all of a sudden having severe, frequent, long lasting headaches. Some AML patients also suffer from a non-specific bone pain. Bone pain is often described as experiencing a severe and nagging pain in the body but the pain is very deep, almost feeling as though it is in the bone. Another symptom of AML is bruising, and those diagnosed with AML suffer from frequent and easy bruising. Having the feeling of being full in the umbilical region (txt. Bk. Pg. 31 ch.2) most of the time is another symptom that someone with AML may experience (Cherath, 2010.). One more symptom that people may experience is noticeable weight loss when there is no dieting or added exercise introduced into a person’s regular routine (Cherath, L. 2002).
Along with the many symptoms Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients experience, there are also many signs that may be present. One sign that people may experience is a fever of an unknown origin. A high fever that comes on for what is thought to be no reason; there are no other reasons presenting for a fever to be present. Sometimes those that have AML are exposed to frequent bacterial or viral infections due to the lack of normal white blood cells being able to fight off illness in the body. A skin rash or bleeding form the gums or nose are also signs of AML. Some may experience swelling in the neck, armpit, and groin area due to enlarged lymph