There is currently no standard way or system to determine what stage of AML Leukemia a patient is in. However Acute Leukemia is sometimes staged in accordance with what type of cell is involved, and what it looks like under a microscope. This is referred to a the French-American-British classification system. The disease is classified as untreated, in remission, and recurrent.
What to Look for
In untreated adult AML Leukemia patients, the patient is newly diagnosed and has not been given any form of treatment for the disease. Patients can however be given medications for fever, bleeding and pain, which is standard procedure.
Note the following in this pseudo-stage:
- Abnormal (complete blood count). CBC range varies and differs between men and women.
- Cells in the bone marrow are at least 20% leukemia cells.
- Symptoms of leukemia are showing.
Patients who are in remission, or those who show a temporary end of signs or symptoms regarding a disease that may re-occur, are being given treatment and are showing the following signs:
- No abnormalities in the CBC or complete blood count.
- There is 5% or less leukemia cells in the bone marrow.
- Patient is not showing any form or sign and symptom of leukemia in the brain or in any part of the body.
- Even though treatments and medications are given to Acute Myeloid Leukemia in Adults patients, re-occurrence of the treated disease is not uncommon and may return in the blood or in the bone marrow.
- The extent of the cancer – if it has spread outside the blood or the bone marrow – is a determining factor on how treatment is to be planned. Tests like the CT Scan, lumbar puncturing, and ultrasound exams are administered as a way to determine the extent of the cancer.
Factors that Can Affect Prognosis and Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stages
- Advanced age – this may negatively affect the prognosis of leukemia
- Any history of blood disorder prior to the leukemia
- Chromosome mutations or abnormalities
- Enlarging of organs such as the liver or the spleen
- Metastasis - the formation and spread of tumors. There are three possible ways that these cancer cells can spread in your body:
- Through the blood – a solid tumor may form if the cancer cells travel through the blood and then start invading solid tissues in the body.
- Through the lymphatic system – if the cancer manages to enter the lymphatic system and travels across the lymphatic vessels, then solid tumors may form across the body.
- Through solid tissues – affected tissues that have formed a solid tumor may also be seen to have spread throughout their surrounding area.
There are times that AML Leukemia cannot be traced using standard testing such as looking at a cell under a microscope. However, through a more sensitive type of testing possibly PCR, or Flow Cytometry, there is a possibility of finding evidence that the leukemia cells are still present in the bone marrow.