Leukemia - a diagnosis that probably shocks everyone at first, even though there have been decisive successes in recent years in the development of more effective treatments against blood cancer.
However, the prognosis depends very much on the particular form of leukaemia. Basically, a distinction is made between acute lymphatic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). While ALL mainly affects children, 80% of patients with AML are adults.
Definition of acute myeloid leukemia
If you translate the name of the disease accurately, you already know what it is. On the one hand, the name "leukemia" reveals that leukocytes (white blood cells) are altered, which is why they are found in increased numbers in the blood (-emia). The addition myeloid indicates that the myeloid series of blood formation is affected. This gives rise to special forms of leukocytes, such as the so-called granulocytes and monocytes. Both contribute significantly to the body's immune defenses.
Acute myeloid leukaemia is therefore a malignant disease of blood formation in which increased numbers of myeloid cells and their precursors are formed and flushed out of the bone marrow. As a result, not only are there functionless precursors in the blood, but other blood cells are also disturbed in their development.
Distribution of acute myeloid leukaemia
AML is a very rare disease, with about three new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year. It mainly affects people of advanced age. Men are affected somewhat more frequently than women. However, in addition to the elderly, newborns and infants also usually suffer from AML when they develop leukaemia.