What is Acute Myeloid Leukemia: The monster that claimed Collymore’s life

Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore Photo: Twitter

Kenyans have been shocked by the rising number of death from the dreadful cancer plague. This follows the untimely demise of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who succumbed to  Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) Monday morning.

according to a haematologist, AML a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and is curable.

It can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and testicles.

This form of cancer can cause many different signs and symptoms. These symptoms are general and can lead to a misdiagnosis as was the case for Bob Collymore.

The CEO was misdiagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency instead of cancer during the early stages of the ailment.

He started receiving treatment for AML in the U.K from October 2017 to July 2018.

According to reports from local media, Collymore had stated that he felt sick in 2017 October but doctors could not figure what he was ailing from.

“I use to get tired and have high temperatures from time to time. It got so bad that I could not make it to company events,” he said. He further noted that the high temperatures would sometimes last for 24 hours.” Collymore said.

Collymore reportedly experienced flu-like symptoms, shaking body and severe pain in the shin – the bones at the front of the leg below the knee.

Bob Collymore in an interview, Photo: Twitter

Most often, AML develops from cells that would turn into white blood cells, but sometimes AML develops in other types of blood-forming cells.

Some known risk factors for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are:

• Getting older
• Being male
• Smoking
• Being exposed to certain chemicals
• Being treated with certain chemotherapy drugs
• Being exposed to radiation
• Having certain blood disorders
• Having a genetic syndrome
• Having a family history

Image result for acute myeloid leukaemia

Anatomy of the bone, Source: www.cancer.gov

People with AML often have several non-specific (general) symptoms. These can include:

• Weight loss
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Night sweats
• Loss of appetite

Symptoms caused by leukemia spread:

– Spread to the skin
If leukemia cells spread to the skin, they can cause lumps or spots that may look like common rashes.
– Spread to the gums
Certain types of AML may spread to the gums, causing swelling, pain, and bleeding.
– Spread to other organs

Less often, leukemia cells can spread to other organs. Spread to the brain and spinal cord can cause symptoms such as:

• Headaches
• Weakness
• Seizures
• Vomiting
• Trouble with balance
• Facial numbness
• Blurred vision
– Enlarged lymph nodes

Although many of the symptoms and signs above may be caused by AML, they can also be caused by other conditions.

If you have signs or symptoms of acute myelogenous leukaemia, your doctor may recommend that you undergo diagnostic tests, including:
• Blood tests
• Bone marrow test
• Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
• Genomic testing

Source: https://www.cancer.org/…/acute-myelo…/about/what-is-aml.html

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