Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common types of leukemia among adults. This type of cancer is rare under age 40.
AML is more common in men than women.
Persons with this type of cancer have an abundance of abnormal immature cells inside their bone marrow. The cells grow very quickly, and replace healthy blood cells. The bone marrow, which helps the body fight infections and makes other blood components, eventually stops working correctly. Persons with AML are more likely to have infections and have an increased risk of bleeding as the numbers of healthy blood cells decrease.
Most of the time, a doctor cannot tell you what caused AML. However, the following things can lead to some types of leukemia, including AML:
Blood disorders, including polycythemia vera, thrombocythemia, and myelodysplasia
Certain chemicals (for example, benzene)
Certain chemotherapy drugs, including etoposide and drugs known as alkylating agents
Exposure to certain chemicals and harmful substances
Weakened immune system due to an organ transplant
Problems with your genes may also play a role in the development of AML.