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Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Every year, approximately 25 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The disease occurs in children of all ages. AML involves uninhibited division and growth of a certain type of blood cells (usually white blood cells, sometimes red blood cells or platelets) leaving no room for the production of healthy blood cells.

The brochure entitled Myeloid Leukemia contains comprehensive information about this disease. The most important information is provided below.

Causes

The DNA in leukemia cells is often found to be damaged. This damage occurs only in the leukemia cells and not in the healthy body cells. Unfortunately, we still do not know why that is and so for the most part we do not know why a child develops leukemia. Occasionally, the disease is related to a congenital defect or disease, such as Down's syndrome, Fanconi anemia or Noonan syndrome. On rare occasions, the damage is the result of past chemotherapy treatment.


Symptoms

Children with leukemia can suffer recurring infections and fever; anemia; nosebleeds; bruising; small, pointed, purple-red spots; wounds that keep bleeding; and bone pain. The combination of these symptoms is the main indication of leukemia.

How is acute myeloid leukemia diagnosed?

Sometimes blood tests clearly indicate leukemia, but usually we need to extract bone marrow and collect cerebrospinal fluid. These procedures are performed under sedation.

Treatment

Children with AML are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. Treatment takes approximately six months and the type of treatment is chemotherapy. Children with certain damages to the DNA receive an allogeneic stem cell transplant after treatment, even if the leukemia does not respond to treatment or if the disease returns.

Survival rate

Children with AML have a more than 70% chance of survival. The prognosis is even better for children with Down's syndrome and AML. Don't be influenced too much by statistics. Every child and every situation is unique.

Questions?

Children with acute myeloid leukemia are treated in the hematology-oncology department.

Telephone 088-1111111