Why choose us for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) care?
AML is a blood cancer with symptoms that come on suddenly. At Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, you don’t have to wait to take control of your well-being.
Our board-certified blood cancer doctors (hematologist oncologists) work with other highly skilled experts to deliver personalized care. You can get the services you need close to home, including sophisticated tests and clinical trials, if you are eligible.
AML is one of the many blood cancers we treat. Find out more about our hematology oncology program.
What you need to know about acute myeloid leukemia
- Leukemia is a blood cancer. It affects bone marrow, the tissue that supports blood cell development. There are many types, including acute myeloid leukemia.
- Acute myeloid leukemia causes abnormal white blood cells to develop and build up in the immune system. These buildups get in the way of healthy cells and put you at risk for infections and other health problems.
- Sometimes, AML spreads to different organs in the body, particularly the spleen, liver, brain and spinal cord, and testicles.
- AML most often affects older adults, but survivors of childhood cancer may also get this disease.
How to talk to your doctor about acute myeloid leukemia
An AML diagnosis can leave you feeling uncertain about your health. But many patients feel better after talking with our team. We answer your questions and give detailed explanations about the next steps in your care.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Additional testing that may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis or coordinate therapies
- Cancer stage — how advanced the leukemia is and if it may spread
- Treatments, including innovative options such as targeted therapy
- Potential treatment side effects and therapies to help you stay comfortable
- Support to help you push past challenges that AML may bring to your daily life
You are welcome to bring loved ones with you to appointments to help you make care decisions. Family members and trusted friends can give you the extra support you deserve.
There are many types of AML, including acute promyelocytic leukemia and acute monocytic leukemia. Doctors who specialize in diagnosing blood disorders (hematopathologists) determine the specific type by examining a tissue sample under a microscope. Our expertise leads to an accurate diagnosis so you receive the correct treatments.
AML symptoms appear suddenly and may worsen quickly. You may experience:
- Bruising easily
- Bone pain
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Heavy periods (in premenopausal women)
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
We start with a blood test to check your white blood cell counts. If the results are not normal, we take a bone marrow tissue sample (biopsy). Hematopathologists examine the tissue. They work with cancer doctors to confirm the type of AML and its severity.
We may work with molecular biologists to perform more tests, such as genomic and molecular testing to identify the precise type of AML.
For complex cases, hematologist oncologists, hematopathologists, molecular biologists and other specialists gather in meetings called tumor boards. We discuss the diagnosis in detail, enabling us to deliver the most appropriate therapies.
AML care in older adults often includes smaller doses of cancer drugs, adjustments due to other medical conditions, and extra support. Our experience caring for a high volume of older adult patients helps you receive the care that’s best for your circumstances.
AML treatment often includes chemotherapy, which uses cancer drugs to disrupt abnormal cell growth. You may need to stay in the hospital for part of your treatment. Our blood cancer experts (hematologist oncologists) coordinate your care with our nursing team.
We offer innovative treatments, such as targeted therapy, that attack specific proteins within cancer cells for more precise care. Read more about targeted therapy.
In advanced cases, you may need a stem cell transplant, a procedure to replace abnormal bone marrow cells with healthy ones. You receive carefully coordinated care at area hospitals. We perform a detailed evaluation, work closely with the transplant team and provide follow-up care.
Research and clinical trials
Our team includes hematologist oncologists with decades of experience in research and clinical trials. If you are eligible, you may have access to innovative care options that can expand your treatment choices. Some of the clinical trials we offer are only available in select programs nationwide.
Get more information about cancer clinical trials and research.
Get cancer care
Take the first step by visiting our cancer experts for testing, a second opinion or to learn about treatment options.
View acute myeloid leukemia clinical trial opportunities
Clinical trials help researchers evaluate new therapies before making them available to the public. Mays Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center in Central and South Texas, which means you have early access to clinical trials for which you are eligible.
Meet Our Team
Our team includes cancer experts from different medical specialties who share a commitment to delivering precise, personalized care.