Leukemia--Acute Myeloid (Myelogenous)

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Treating Leukemia - Acute Myeloid (AML) TOPICS

How is acute myeloid leukemia treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

General treatment information about acute myeloid leukemia

As noted earlier, adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is not a single disease. It is really a group of related diseases, and patients with different subtypes of AML can have different outlooks and responses to treatment.

Once AML has been diagnosed, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. Your options may be affected by the AML subtype and lab tests of the leukemia cells, as well as certain other prognostic factors (described in the section “How is acute myeloid leukemia classified?”), as well as your overall state of health.

Several types of treatment may be used for people with AML. The main treatment for AML is chemotherapy, sometimes followed by a stem cell transplant. Other drugs (besides standard chemotherapy drugs) may also be used to treat people with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Surgery and radiation therapy may be used in special circumstances.

The typical treatment approach for AML is different from the treatment approach for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options and their possible side effects with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section “What should you ask your doctor about acute myeloid leukemia?

In most cases AML can progress rapidly, so it is important to start treatment as soon as possible after the diagnosis is made.

Last Medical Review: 12/09/2014
Last Revised: 12/09/2014