Over 13,000 new cases of acute myelogenous leukemia were diagnosed in the United States in 2007. Acute myelogenous leukemia is an aggressive form of leukemia that can affect anyone of any age, but primarily occurs in males over the age of 60. There have been many causes and risk factors pinpointed as contributing to the development of the disease, although some individuals with acute myelogenous leukemia have not experienced any of the risk factors. Acute myelogenous leukemia affects the blood and bone marrow of an individual, corrupting the DNA of the developing blood cells and reducing the ability of the blood cells to perform properly. The condition can target the red blood cells, the white blood cells, or the platelets of the blood and has the ability to spread from the blood to cells located in other regions of the body. Although acute myelogenous leukemia is a very aggressive form of cancer that progresses rapidly, most cases respond well to treatment and can go into remission for a number of years.
Acute myelogenous leukemia occurs when the DNA of the blood cells developing in the body are corrupted, causing the bone marrow to produce a host of abnormal blood cells. These abnormal blood cells do not function properly and they multiply rapidly, crowding out the normal effective blood cells. Because the blood cells are affected while they are still immature and have not yet developed into red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets, acute myelogenous leukemia can affect all three types of blood cells. This damaged DNA has been linked to environmental agents more than genetic ones, including exposure to cancer causing agents such as the chemical benzene. Research is still being conducted to determine all of the causes that increase the chances for the development of acute myelogenous leukemia, with the hopes that better understanding of the condition and the factors that contribute to the development of the condition can help medical professionals control acute myelogenous leukemia.
Exposure to known carcinogens has been associated with the development of acute myelogenous leukemia. Individuals that have experienced long term exposure to cancer causing chemicals such as benzene, which is used in large quantities in a wide variety of industries, have a much greater risk of developing acute myelogenous leukemia than the general public. The fumes of chemicals like benzene penetrate the air in the factories that use the chemical for production needs, allowing the employees working in the factory to breathe the chemical into their lungs. Benzene is metabolized rapidly in the body, making many tests for benzene exposure ineffective within a few hours. Acute myelogenous leukemia has been linked to benzene exposure of less than five years as well as exposures lasting as long as thirty years. Not all individuals exposed to benzene develop acute myelogenous leukemia, but the chemical is considered a major cause for the development of the condition.
Individuals that have experienced certain blood and genetic disorders also have a higher risk of developing acute myelogenous leukemia. Previous rounds of chemotherapy to control a different type of cancer are also suspected as aiding in the development of acute myelogenous leukemia. Although most individuals that have developed the condition have experienced at least one of the risk factors associated with the development of acute myelogenous leukemia, some individuals develop the condition without being exposed to any of the risk factors. Researchers continue to search for information about acute myelogenous leukemia and why individuals develop this life-threatening condition.
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If you or a loved one have been exposed to Benzene and developed a form of leukemia or other blood related disease, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation and we can help.