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No one ever wants to get a cancer diagnosis. Especially if the person is your child. You’re likely feeling scared and worried. Or maybe even angry. And that’s OK.

If your child has acute myeloid leukemia (AML), there’s good news. This rare cancer of the blood and bone marrow (leukemia), is treatable. The even better news is that between 85% and 90% of kids with AML go into remission after treatment. This means their symptoms go away, and their blood tests show no signs of AML cells. 

At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, our healthcare providers know what it takes to tackle AML and help your child recover. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan for your child that keeps them, as a person, in mind. And we're here to support and reassure them (and your family) throughout this entire journey. You’re not alone.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic Children’s for Acute Myeloid Leukemia Care?

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National recognition:

U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic Children’s a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the world.

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Collaborative care:

Your child gets the combined power of training, skill and experience on their care team. All of their providers, from cancer doctors to psychologists, will work together to create your child’s unique treatment plan. Meet our team.

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Personalized care:

Helping your child get well is our focus. Their treatment team meets weekly to talk about your child’s physical and emotional progress. We do what it takes to always give them the highest level of care and support.

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Comprehensive treatment:

Cleveland Clinic is known for its patient clinical trials and cancer research. We constantly make sure we’re offering the latest treatment options. 

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Caring approach:

Cancer can be hard for your child and your family. Our patient support services can help you cope emotionally, spiritually and financially with this diagnosis. From psychologists to social workers, we care about you.

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Virtual visits:

If side effects from your child’s cancer treatments make it hard to leave home (or you live out of town), you can schedule some of their regular follow-up appointments as virtual visits. We make it easy to keep in touch with your child’s provider without having to travel. You can talk with them from the comfort of your couch using your tablet, computer or smartphone. It’s a quick and convenient way to get the care you need when you need it.  

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

On your child’s first visit, we’ll start with a physical exam. We’ll look for areas of bleeding or bruising and enlarged lymph nodes. All of these are common AML symptoms.

We’ll also do other diagnostic tests. Based on the results of these tests, we’ll assign what is called a subtype to your child’s cancer. The subtype can help us to figure out their personalized treatment plan for potentially good outcomes. Other tests may include:

Bone marrow aspiration

We might run a test called a bone marrow aspiration. This test lets us check tissue samples to see if your child’s body is making healthy blood cells in their bones and bone marrow. Marrow is the spongy tissue inside of bones that produces blood cells. We’ll do this by removing a small piece of bone and some liquid marrow from your child’s hip or breastbone. Don’t worry, we’ll numb the area first. Depending on your child, we might even give them a sedative before we take a sample. They’ll be able to go home after the test. They’ll wear a small bandage and might be sore for a couple of days.

Spinal tap

Your child could also have a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) so we can test their spinal fluid for cancer cells. We’ll remove a fluid sample from around your child’s spinal cord through their lower back. We’ll use a needle and syringe to do this. Your child will have a local anesthetic, which could sting for a second or two. During the procedure, they might feel some pressure. But it won’t hurt. After the test, your child will need to remain lying down for an hour. After that, they can usually go home. They’ll need to get plenty of rest and fluids for a couple of days. Sometimes, they might get a headache for a day or two after the procedure.


Our providers will also do imaging tests to take detailed pictures inside your child’s body. Looking at these pictures helps us rule out other health issues. These images also help your child’s care team see whether cancer has spread to any other parts of your child’s body. These tests can include a CT scan, MRI, ultrasound and X-rays.

Second opinions

Learning that your child may have cancer can be an emotional moment. You’ll want to make sure you’re working with a team of healthcare providers you trust to give your child the best possible treatment. At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, we encourage second opinions, and we try to provide priority appointments for anyone looking for one. When you come in for your appointment, we’ll ask you to bring all of your child’s medical records. Our team of experts will dive in to help you through the process of finding the best personalized treatment plan for your child. 


We offer treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the following location in Northeast Ohio.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

We develop a personalized care plan based on a variety of things — like the type of AML your child has, their age and their white blood cell count. AML treatment usually includes chemotherapy, but also includes other therapies to give your child the best possible results.


Chemotherapy means we give your child drugs through their vein with an IV tube. These drugs are made to destroy abnormal cells. Acute myeloid leukemia treatment involves two phases of chemotherapy — induction and consolidation therapies. Induction therapy helps get your child’s blood cell and bone marrow counts back to normal. Many patients will go into remission after this. 

Once we finish induction therapy, we’ll do consolidation therapy. This helps us destroy any remaining AML cells. Depending on their cancer, they’ll either get more chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant. In this treatment, we’ll infuse your child’s blood with new, healthy bone marrow cells provided by a matching donor. It’s also known as a bone marrow transplant.

Refractory or recurrent AML treatment

In a small percentage of children — less than 15% — acute myeloid leukemia doesn’t go into remission (refractory AML) or comes back after treatment (recurrent AML). If this happens, we’ll recommend further treatments like:

Routine monitoring

After your child finishes treatment, we’ll check on them often. This helps us find and treat any changes in your child’s health right away. These checkups will include regular blood and bone marrow tests for at least two years. After that time, it’s more unlikely that AML will return. The five-year survival rate for children with AML ranges from 65% to 70%.

Taking the Next Step

Cancer is hard. It’s even harder when your child is the one going through treatment. That’s why we’re here to help them (and your family) get the best diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care possible. Cleveland Clinic Children’s is the trusted coach your family needs to tackle this cancer journey. And your child is our star player. We’re here to help them play and enjoy life again.

Getting an appointment for acute myeloid leukemia care at Cleveland Clinic Children’s is easy. We’re here to help you and your child.


Getting an appointment for acute myeloid leukemia care at Cleveland Clinic Children’s is easy. We’re here to help you and your child.

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Mother hugging on her child, covering her shaved head due to cancer treatment.


Learning your child has cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, your child is a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with their cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you. At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, survivorship care is one part of your child’s journey. Through our Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program, you’ll find support for any medical and emotional challenges that may happen in the years following cancer treatment.

We’re also there for you throughout this entire journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your child’s cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want your child to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.

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