For many types of cancer, finding the cancer early might make it easier to treat. The American Cancer Society recommends screening tests for early detection of certain cancers in people without any symptoms.
But at this time, no screening tests have been shown to be helpful in finding acute myeloid leukemia (AML) early. AML often develops (and causes symptoms) fairly quickly, so the best way to find AML early is to report any possible symptoms of AML to the doctor right away.
Some people are known to be at increased risk of AML because they have certain blood disorders (such as a myelodysplastic syndrome) or inherited disorders (such as Down syndrome), or because they were treated with certain chemotherapy drugs or radiation. Most doctors recommend that these people get careful, regular medical checkups. These people don’t usually develop leukemia, but they and their doctors should be familiar with the possible symptoms of AML.
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Appelbaum FR. Chapter 98: Acute leukemias in adults. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2014.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Acute Myeloid Leukemia. V.1.2018. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/aml.pdf on June 14, 2018.
Stock W, Thirman MJ. Pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia. UpToDate. 2018. Accessed at www.uptodate.com/contents/pathogenesis-of-acute-myeloid-leukemia on June 14, 2018.
Last Revised: August 21, 2018