Leukemia is a type of cancer affecting the blood system, usually started from the blood producer, bone marrow. Leukemia is characterized by an abnormally high number of white blood cells in the body. The danger of leukemia includes weakening the immune system, serious complications, and even death.
Fortunately, leukemia can be treated. Here are five types of leukemia treatment which help the patient to be free from leukemia.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for leukemia. The therapy is useful in the remission induction, a process to eliminate the leukemia cells in your bone marrow and blood. The process continues to a post-remission therapy which is called consolidation. This process aims to eliminate any remaining leukemia cell in your body and prevent a relapse.
The consolidation strategies arechosen based on the result of the induction process. Typically, consolidation uses a high dose of drugsforfive days. The same treatment is repeated for 4 or 5 times every 4 weeks.
2. Stem Cell Transplant
When conventional chemotherapy doesn’t result in total elimination of leukemia cells, the treatment is usually combined or continued with stem cell transplant. The transplant is also given to patients with a high risk of relapse or even relapse prior to finishing the treatment.
Most of the stem cell transplant is an allogeneic one, which means that the cells transplanted are given by a donor. Consequently, to be able to do a stem cell transplant, finding a suitable donor is a must. People with the highest possibility to become a suitable donor is usually the sibling and other family members of the patient.
3. Radiation Therapy
The third leukemia treatment is a radiation therapy. This therapy is used to prevent leukemia cells from spreading to central nervous system. It helps totreat the pain and is used as a preparation for a stem cell transplant. The dose and area given the therapy depend on the specific condition of cancer. The type of leukemia usually uses this therapy is acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Targeted therapy is focused on a specific area or leukemia cells. The dose of this therapy is usually lower than conventional chemotherapy. The effect is also less powerful than chemotherapy. Targeted therapy uses different medication, but the most commonly used are Imatinib, Dasatinib, and Nilotinib.
5. Supportive Therapy
Supportive therapy is to treat the expected complication and effects of other leukemia treatment or for the patients with a chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. After the treatment, leukemia patients sometimes experience low red blood cells. The supportive therapy includes a blood transfer to overcome the problem.
Another issue treated using this therapy is fatigue, pain, infection, emotional health, and abnormal bleeding. Antibiotic is commonly used during the therapy.
The decision about what leukemia treatment is the most suitable for a patient is made by the medical team. The decision is usually made considering the type of leukemia and the patient’s age, genetic abnormalities, and overall health. In many cases, a patient will receive a combination of more than one treatments.