It is a disease of the bone marrow. It is basically a fast growing cancer. Here are some of its popular myths.
Acute myeloid Leukemia is incurableThe most prevalent myth surrounding acute myeloid leukemia is one that claims the disease to be incurable. The myth is believed to have been propagated by stories of people dying from acute myeloid leukemia. However, it is important to note here that the disease will turn fatal only when left undetected for a long period. The nature and diagnosis of AML varies from one patient to another. Additionally, there are factors like severity of disease or age that come into play here. The disease is curable in about 60 percent of the cases. If doctors can treat so many of the acute myeloid leukemia cases back to normalcy, there is a hardly a reason for believing that it is incurable.Radiation is the only factor that causes AMLAlthough radiation plays a crucial in aggravating the possibility of the development of the disease, medical communities are trying their best to figure out all the probable risk factors involved. Several factors about the occurrence and development of AML continue to remain shrouded in dark. A majority of people diagnosed with AML have two or more risk factors. Even if the patient has a single risk factor, there is no way of telling whether it was the real reason behind the disease. For those who do not know, risk factors mean habits or practices that give rise to conditions culminating in the occurrence of a particular disease. In case of AML, smoking, exposure to heat or radiation are some of the detected factors.Stem cell treatment is the only solution to AML
Although AML is a disease of blood cells, the treatment process primarily begins with chemotherapy. Stem cell treatment is generally recommended only when the disease relapses. However, it needs to be remembered that stem cell transplantation may cost you a fortune and only those who can afford the expense should think of undergoing the treatment procedure. In a majority of the cases, stem cell treatment is hardly a solution. For these patients, there are several other techniques available in the form of chemotherapy or radiation. Unless the situation is acute and needs to be treated only through stem cell treatment, the medical community would much rather prefer using the less expensive alternatives.
AML is hereditaryThere is no evidence to suggest that acute myeloid leukemia runs in families. So what has the medical community got to say about such claims? There are several factors, better known as risk factors, which affect the development of abnormal myeloid cells. Research shows that the changes result from certain mutations within stem cells. The development of such mutations is, however, one big mystery that medical science has not been able to resolve. The disease has nothing to do with genes but rather occurs by chance. In fact, a majority of the acute myeloid leukemia cases are diagnosed in people with no previous genealogical or familial history of the disease.AML is contagiousThere is not an iota of truth in the myth. AML is a disease where healthy blood cells get replaced by abnormal cells within the bone marrow area. So if a person in the family comes down with AML, there is little chance of others getting affected. There are several examples where people, driven by such myths, have discriminated against patients of acute myeloid leukemia. By doing so, you not only make an innocent person feel downtrodden and lowly, but also provide encouragement to stories that have no basis in truth. Moreover, it is also worth noting that, acute or not, none of the commonly found leukemia varieties are contagious.AML affects the youngLeukemia is a disease that we tend to associate with children. This has led many to believe that acute myeloid leukemia, too, primarily affects children. However, of all other varieties of leukemia, AML is one that mostly targets adults. According to medical researches, AML is rare under the age of 45 years. The age group 50 to 65 years accounts for the highest rate of AML diagnosis. There are certain other leukemia varieties, like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, that seem to affect large amounts of the population under 18 years of age. Acute myeloid leukemia, however, is not to be confused with them. Hence, the disease can affect anybody irrespective of age.Surgery is one of the best methods for treating AMLThis myth has been around for ages and harks back to the time when patients in the advanced stages of leukemia sought medical help. Contrary to popular belief, surgery does not play a major role in the treatment of AML. The myeloid cells spread to other areas of the body within a very short while. This limits the scope of surgery in the treatment process. In fact, surgery may not have a role to play even during diagnosis considering the fact that biopsy and bone marrow aspirate are the two most commonly used methods. However, when it comes to treating isolated tumors, surgery is the only way out. Although, it should be remembered that such cases are generally rare.Blood spots under the skin mean that you are probably suffering from AMLIf you have recently developed several blood spots under the skin, there is no reason to feel worried right at the outset. Although, blood spots are among the very first AML symptoms, their occurrence may be accounted for by several other factors apart from leukemia. The most general cause of blood spots is old age. Hereditary disorders or medications also play a crucial role here. However, if the occurrence of blood spots is frequent, then do consult a medical expert right away. Blood spots are one of the biggest giveaways of acute myeloid leukemia. Hence, their frequent occurrence can never be considered ignorable.The medical industry isn’t ready to spill the beans although they know the cureThe myth continues to surround several of the leukemia varieties. Close to 21,780 people die from leukemia every year. Even medical professionals lose near and dear ones to fatal diseases like AML. Keeping such considerations in mind, would it be really justified if we blame the medical community for hiding the solution to one of the most fatal diseases on earth? Had the professionals been aware of the cures, they would have applied them on their close ones first. Hence, instead of blaming people for their failure to treat acute myeloid leukemia, let us all adopt a more rational approach.Mistakes made in youth have little effects on your chances of developing leukemia later in lifeAs youth, we often tend to make mistakes that affect us later in life. AML is a disease which can easily be evaded through necessary precautions during youth. The most common AML triggering habits include smoking and prolonged exposure to radiation. Hence, if you want to stay protected against fatal diseases like AML, start planning early. Take necessary precautions by staying away from cigarettes or radiation generating sources. These are risk factors not only for acute myeloid leukemia but for a variety of other fatal diseases as well. This reminds us of a very famous proverb: prevention is better than cure.Acute gum infection is a sure signal of AMLThe myth is partially true since gum infections are among the very first symptoms that doctors generally look for in suspected cases of AML. However, contracting a gum infection does not necessarily make you a patient of AML. There are other symptoms apart from gum infections that may give you the possible tip off. Shortness of breath, cough and pain while urinating are a few among them. Gum infections can also be caused through diabetes, medications, stress or smoking. Hence, you need not worry your head off linking the occurrence of gum infection to AML without consulting the doctor first.