What Is The Aggressive Form Of Blood Cancer Syria's First Lady Asma al-Assad Has Been Diagnosed With?

Syria’s first Lady Asma al-Assad has been diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer, known as acute myeloid leukemia or AML, which targets the white blood cells involved in battling an infection. Asma’s diagnosis comes five years after she was treated with breast cancer. Read on to know all about this life-threatening disease.
asma al-assad

In 2019, Asma had said she was 'totally' free of breast cancer after battling the life-threatening disease for a year

Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad has been diagnosed with leukemia or blood cancer, the president's office has revealed. "First Lady Asma al-Assad has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia," an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells involved in battling infection, it said in a statement. Doctors said British-born Asma will now undergo a specialized treatment protocol that requires social distancing to avoid infection, the statement said.

Battled breast cancer in 2019

In 2019, Asma had said she was "totally" free of breast cancer after battling the life-threatening disease for a year.

What is Acute myeloid leukemia?

Acute myeloid leukemia or AML is a rare blood cancer that affects your bone marrow and blood. According to experts, it is an aggressive cancer that, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. AML typically affects people aged 60 years and older, but it can also affect younger adults and children.
According to doctors, AML happens due to mutations in certain genes or chromosomes. There are several AML subtypes, all of which can affect your blood cell levels, but have different symptoms and respond to treatment in different ways. Medical pathologists determine AML subtypes by examining cancerous cells under a microscope. They also look for changes in your chromosomes and mutations in certain genes that help manage how cells grow and function.
According to the American Cancer Society, the global age-adjusted incidence of is 1.81 per 100,000 person-years for males and 1.33 per 100,000 person-years for females. The incidence of AML has been increasing globally over the past 28 years.

Signs and symptoms

A few signs and symptoms of AML may indicate that you have a cold or flu that won’t go away. However, according to doctors, the condition is highly aggressive and quickly develops new and more noticeable symptoms. A few of these include:
  • Dizziness
  • Easy bleeding, including frequent nosebleeds and bleeding gums
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • High fever
  • Night sweats
  • Frequent infections or infections that don’t go away
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pale skin
  • Breathlessness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weakness
  • Bone, back, or abdominal pain
  • Tiny red spots
  • Wounds or sores that don’t go away

What causes AML?

Experts say they are not sure what causes acute myeloid leukemia, other than mutations or changes in your genes. These genetic changes may happen:
  • During your lifetime when something changes your DNA.
  • Due to an inherited genetic disorder that increases your risk of developing AML.
  • If there was a change in certain genes in your biological parent’s sperm or egg.
Genetic changes happen when there are changes in your:
  • Stem cells that mature into red blood cells that carry oxygen
  • White blood cells that protect against infection
  • Platelets, which help your blood to clot

Risk factors

  • Age asmost people detected with this blood cancer are more than 60 years of age
  • Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation
  • Long-term exposure to chemical carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde
  • High-dose radiation exposure from a nuclear reactor accident or atomic bomb
  • Bone marrow disorders
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