Leukemia - Acute Myeloid - AML - Childhood: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.

Doctors and researchers don’t know what causes most childhood cancers, including AML. Sometimes, AML may be caused by certain genetic or environmental factors. For example, children who have Down syndrome have an increased risk of AML during the first four years of life. Children with other disorders of the bone marrow are also at risk of developing AML, which slowly increases as they age. However, the reasons for this increased risk are not well understood.

In general, AML occurs more often in children younger than two. The number of people with AML increases again in late childhood (during the teenage years) and continues to increase throughout later adulthood.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs and it explains what body changes or medical problems this disease can cause. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.