Acute myeloid leukemia

Selina M. Luger, MD
Last Modified: May 12, 2002

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
A 27-year-old friend has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. What is the prognosis for the type of cancer he is fighting and how can members of the community help?  

Answer

Selina M. Luger, MD, Director of the Leukemia Program and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Fortunately, the treatment for acute myeloid leukemia has resulted in improving results over the last several decades. The goal of initial therapy is to get patients into remission (no obvious evidence of leukemia left in the bone marrow and normal blood counts). Once a patient is in remission, they still have to go through additional "post remission" therapy, which is done to increase the chances that the leukemia does not come back. Each case is different however, and based on the patient's specific characteristics, decisions will be made about what the best therapies are for him.

The best thing you can probably do for him at this point is to be supportive and encouraging.