Leukaemia is cancer of the white blood cells. Acute leukaemia means it progresses quickly and aggressively, and usually requires immediate treatment.
Acute leukaemia is classified according to the type of white blood cells affected. The 2 main types of white blood cells are:
- lymphocytes – which fight viral infections and
- myeloid cells – which do different things, such as fighting bacterial infections, defending the body against parasites and preventing the spread of tissue damage
Acute myeloid leukemia is often abbreviated to AML and acute lymphoblastic leukemia to ALL.