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Treatment Options for Leukemia

Treatment Options for Leukemia

The treatment options for leukemia depend on a lot of factors. The patient’s overall health, age, type of leukemia that they are diagnosed with, and the stage at which it has been diagnosed are some of the factors taken into consideration while determining the treatment.

Here are some of the popular treatment options for leukemia that commonly prescribed.

Active surveillance
Patients who have chronic leukemia might be asked to keep active surveillance on their condition until any major symptoms start to show up. Until then, no treatment is given to the patient, and thus, the side effects of the various treatments can also be averted. In cases where a close watch is prescribed, regular visits to the doctor are a must. These are important so that treatment can be started as soon as it is needed. There are certain risks associated with this course of treatment. It is likely that the chance to control the spread of the cancer is lost, and it can grow beyond control. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor. 

Chemotherapy
This is one of the popular treatment options for leukemia and several other types of cancer. It is a treatment procedure in which medicines are used to destroy the cancer cells. Depending on the type of medicine has been prescribed to the patient, medication can be administered intravenously, orally, with the help of a catheter, or given directly in the cerebrospinal fluid. Chemotherapy can effectively destroy the rapid growth of leukemia cells. However, it can also kill healthy cells and cause some severe side effects.

Immunotherapy
This is a treatment option for leukemia given to improve the natural defense mechanism of the body to fight the cancer cells. One of the types of substances given during this therapy is a monoclonal antibody. It is administered intravenously, after which they bind with the leukemia cells. The antibodies either kill the cancerous cells or give a boost to the immune system to kill them.

Radiation therapy
In this type of treatment, radiation is used to kill the cancer cells. During the therapy, in some cases, high beam rays are given through a large machine to the brain, spleen, or any other part of the body that has been affected by the leukemia cells. In other cases, the radiation is received by the entire body and not just a few parts.

Stem cell or bone marrow transplant
In this procedure, the patient is treated with drugs, radiation, or both in high doses. With the help of these high doses, the leukemia cells are killed in the bone marrow. However, in the process, the healthy cells in the bone marrow also get destroyed. Post this, the healthy stem cells are administered into the body through the vein in order to replace the destroyed bone marrow.

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