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Acute myelogenous leukemia

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Disease progression of acute myelogenous leukemia

Cancer cells can spread from where they start to other parts of the body. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissue in the bone marrow, and it can develop wherever the blood travels. As a result, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is often widespread when it is found.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. AML cells usually collect in the:

  • liver
  • spleen
  • lymph nodes
  • gums
  • skin
  • brain and spinal cord (called the central nervous system, or CNS)
  • testicles, kidneys, eyes, ears, heart or other organs (in rare cases)

Leukemia does not usually form solid tumours in these organs. The buildup of abnormal cells in the organs affects them so they don’t work normally.


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