Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Facts & Figures

Incidence in Minnesota:

AML is gradually increasing in MN

AML incidence rates in Minnesota have gradually increased with an annual percent change of 1.8% since 1988. As with national data, incidence rates are consistently higher in males than in females. Minnesota incidence rates have been similar to the national average in recent years. From 2011 to 2013, an average of 148 cases of AML in males and 111 cases of AML in females were diagnosed in Minnesota residents each year.

Acute myeloid leukemia cases in Minnesota
Age-adjusted rates of new AML cases.
Age-adjusted rates of new AML cases.

Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of AML was 5.5 new cases per 100,000 males and 3.8 new cases per 100,000 females.

Acute myeloid leukemia cases in Minnesota, by age
Rate of new AML cases, aggregated from 2004 to 2013.
Rate of new AML cases, aggregated from 2004 to 2013.

The rate of AML is higher among males compared to females. Incidence rates of AML increase with age.


About acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one type of leukemia, and "acute" means that this type can progress quickly. Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells (leukocytes), and AML is a cancer of a certain type of white blood cell. There are about a dozen different types of AML. These distinctions are important for treatment decisions and prognoses.

What are the risk factors for AML?

  • Benzene: a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and fuel industries. This chemical is an ingredient in gasoline and is present in cigarette smoke, some glues, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies, and paint strippers.
  • Smoking: Tobacco smoke contains benzene as well as many other cancer-causing substances.
  • Radiation exposure: Extremely high levels of radiation exposure can cause AML. It is difficult to know, however, whether exposure to low doses of radiation, such as X-rays or CT scans has any effect on risk of AML. Radiation treatment for a previous cancer can also increase the risk of AML.
  • Specific blood disorders and some congenital syndromes: Certain blood disorders (like myelodysplasia) and certain genetic disorders (like Down syndrome) can increase risk of AML.

How can AML be prevented?

Few strategies exist for preventing AML. Individuals can limit occupational exposures to benzene, although benzene is now a well-recognized hazard that is regulated in the workplace. Other prevention measures include not smoking and avoiding radiation. Very few people, however, have significant radiation exposure in present times.