Leukemia - Acute Myeloid - AML - Childhood: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of a child developing AML. Use the menu to see other pages.

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. The following factors may raise a child's risk of developing AML:

  • Genetic factors. Sometimes, AML may be caused by certain genetic factors. For example, children who have Down syndrome have an increased risk of AML during the first 4 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.

  • Age. In general, AML occurs more often in children younger than 2. 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. It explains what body changes or medical problems childhood AML can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.