Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leukemia And Chemotherapy

Leukemia And Chemotherapy

Leukemia is a disease that affects your blood and bone marrow. It is not a very common disease, but leukemia can be a very serious and severe condition. This disease can lead to death and treating your leukemia case may be painful and hard.

In almost all leukemia cases, the first treatment phase is through induction chemotherapy. This particular leukemia chemotherapy has the role of bringing leukemia into remission. This mean that your blood counts go back to normal and the number of leukemia cells decrease considerably.

This first leukemia treatment phase is can be very intense and it lasts about one week. Three weeks after this induction chemotherapy, the patient must take certain drugs in order to recover. Some of the leukemia patients can also be given extra medication, depending on what type of leukemia they suffer from and how they have reacted to treatment. The first time a leukemia patient has this chemotherapy may not always turn out to be successful. The treatment may have to be repeated a couple of times over.

After this induction chemotherapy, almost eighty percent of leukemia patients that are under 60 will be cured. The number drops at about 50 percent of all leukemia patients when it comes to people over 60. If children suffer from leukemia, then after this treatments more than 90 percent will be cured.

If not all leukemia cells are destroyed after the first chemotherapy phase, then consolidation chemotherapy is next. This second phase has as goal destroying the leukemia cells that are left. Large doses of cytarabine are given to the leukemia patient. This drug may be given in three cycles, sometimes even more. Many of the people that suffer from leukemia and get to this point of treatment will eventually be cured.

If neither one of these types of chemotherapy bring remission to the leukemia patient, than transplant may be his/ her chance. However, a bone marrow transplant presents some major risks and can have serious side effects. So, this way of treating leukemia is not used in all patients and it is only used when chemotherapy shows no effect whatsoever. Autogeneic or autologous transplant are some other methods used in cases of leukemia. Both have their risks, but when they are the only chance left, risk may mean the life of the leukemia patient. It may also turn out difficult to find a donor in cases of leukemia.

By: Groshan Fabiola

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