How treatment for AML is planned

Your treatment will be planned by a team of specialists who will meet to discuss and agree on the plan of treatment they feel is best for you.

This multidisciplinary team (MDT) will include:

  • one or more haematologists
  • specialist nurses, who give information and support
  • a transplant consultant.

The team may also include other healthcare staff, such as a social worker, a dietitian, a physiotherapist, a occupational therapist (OT), a counsellor and a palliative care doctor or nurse who specialises in symptom control. The team will plan your treatment by taking into account a number of factors including:

  • the type of AML you have
  • the type of abnormal genes in the leukaemia cells
  • your medical history
  • your general health.

You may be invited to take part in a clinical trial of a new treatment for AML.

Giving your consent

Before you have any treatment, your doctor will explain its aims. They will usually ask you to sign a form saying that you give permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you the treatment.

No medical treatment can be given without your consent, and before you are asked to sign the form you should be given full information about:

  • the type and extent of the treatment
  • its advantages and disadvantages
  • any significant risks or side effects
  • any other treatments that may be available.

If you don't understand what you've been told, let the staff know straight away, so they can explain again. Some cancer treatments are complex, so it's not unusual to need repeated explanations.

It's a good idea to have a relative or friend with you when the treatment is explained, to help you remember the discussion. You may also find it useful to write a list of questions before your appointment.

People sometimes feel that hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it's important for you to know how the treatment is likely to affect you. The staff should be willing to make time for your questions.

You can always ask for more time if you feel that you can't make a decision when your treatment is first explained to you.

You are also free to choose not to have the treatment. The staff can explain what may happen if you don't have it. It’s essential to tell a doctor or the nurse in charge, so they can record your decision in your medical notes. You don't have to give a reason for not wanting treatment, but it can help to let the staff know your concerns so they can give you the best advice.

Back to Who will be involved in my treatment decision?

Getting a second opinion

Treatment is planned based on national guidelines, but you may want a second opinion from another specialist.

Making a complaint

Talking to your healthcare team can make it easier to cope. If you find talking difficult, there are things you can do.