Michele Merlo, what is fulminant leukemia: the disease that killed Mike Bird. What are the alarm bells

Michele Merlo, what is fulminant leukemia: the disease that killed Mike Bird. What are the alarm bells
Michele Merlo, what is fulminant leukemia: the disease that killed Mike Bird. What are the alarm bells

Blood cancer that affects white blood cells, acute myeloid leukemia is one of the 4 different types of existing leukemia, it develops from the bone marrow and progresses rapidly.

In particular, the one that hit the singer-songwriter Michele Merlo it is a subtype, acute promyelocytic leukemia, which represents the most aggressive form and is also called fulminant, precisely because of the speed with which it can be fatal. If not diagnosed in time it can cause a patient to die in a few days due to the bleeding it causes, but if diagnosed early it can be treatable.

Every year in Italy it is estimated that just over 2,000 new cases of acute myeloid leukemia are diagnosed, especially in men over 60 years of age. What struck the 28-year-old however, the promyelocytic, represents the 10-15% of these cases (i.e. about 150 cases a year in Italy) and mainly affects young people, with an average age of 31 years.

At the base there are acquired genetic characteristics, that is not present from birth, between chromosomes 15 and 17. When this occurs, the immature and malignant cells that derive from it rapidly suppress and replace the healthy ones present in the bone marrow, thus giving life to a rapid and fatal progression.

“L’onset of the disease – we read on the website of the Veronesi Foundation – it is sudden and, in some cases, can be characterized by the appearance of severe bleeding symptoms due to the presence of a reduced number of platelets and the alteration of coagulation mechanisms “.

What makes the difference is the possibility of one correct diagnosis in a few hours. The bells that should raise alarm are bleeding, in particular from both nostrils, but also from the gums, the digestive system, the urinary system. But they can also occur, as happened in Michele’s case, in the brain.

Tiredness and general malaise – recalls the Veronesi Foundation – they are almost always present in patients affected by the disease. The suggestion, in these cases, is to always contact a facility equipped with a hematology department, where a correct diagnosis – thanks to the availability of instruments capable of amplifying the DNA – can take place in less than half an hour and without too many margins. error “.

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