Matthew's Room

Leukaemia Facts

I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) on the 18th September 1998. It was discovered because two days earlier, during a check up, an observant local GP noticed that one cheek was slightly bigger than the other and detected a lump under that cheek. The next day I had a variety of tests, X-rays, Ultrasounds as well as a CT-scan, these didn't show up anything conclusive. Then on the 18th I was sent to the New Children's Hospital Westmead, where a blood test showed up some abnormal cells. This was followed by an immediate bone marrow test, which confirmed that I had AML.

There are two main childhood Leukaemias, the much more common of these is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), the other is AML. The survival rates for ALL is currently somewhere between 70% and 80%, but unfortunately the statistics for AML are much lower about 50%. On a positive note, these statistics are improving all the time as new treatments are found to be effective.

What is Leukaemia?
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissue called bone marrow. A mutation occurs in a developing white blood cell, after which the mutant cell begins dividing continuously. Before long, a huge number of cancerous white cells have accumulated in the bone marrow, leaving no room for normal blood cell production. The number of normal cells in the blood begins to fall and this eventually threatens the patient's life.

Leukaemia is the commonest cancer affecting children. About 600-700 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer in Australia each year, and about 200 in New South Wales alone. The New Children's Hospital Westmead, the largest in Australia, treats only about 9-10 AML patients each year.


New Children's Hospital
Click here for a look at the best children's hospital in Australia, and see an interactive 360° panorama of the hospital foyer.

Click here to see an interactive 360 degree panorama

Cancer Links
For more detailed information about AML, or cancer in general, take a look at some of the links below.

National Cancer Institute's CancerNet™


American Cancer Society

Ask NOAH About: Cancer

Leukemia Society of America

National Childhood Cancer Foundation

GrannyBarb and Art's Leukemia Links





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Last Updated : Sunday, 03 October 2004

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