STEP 1: Prevention and early detection


The causes of AML are not fully understood and there is currently no clear prevention strategy.

Risk factors

Most people have no identifiable risk factors. It is possible for AML to run in families but is uncommon. Known risk factors include:

  • advanced age
  • prior chemotherapy, radiation therapy or high-dose radiation exposure
  • known previous haematological disorder with a risk of leukaemic transformation
  • known predisposing genetic disorders with a risk of leukaemic presentation
  • obesity
  • tobacco smoking
  • having a first-degree relative with AML
  • environmental exposure to industrial chemicals such as benzene.

Early detection

In patients with pre-existing preleukaemic disorders (e.g. myelodysplasia, other myeloid neoplasms) and predisposing genetic disorders, routine care of these should include full blood counts and bone marrow biopsies at appropriate clinical intervals.

There are no screening programs for AML.