Treat Leukemia ? The major treatments available for leukemia include chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplants, and various clinical trials with new medications and treatments.
Due to leukemia being a vast name for many different diseases, the treatment must be discussed with your physician or in many cases a team of doctors. The main reason this is true is that some treatments work better against other types of leukemia than another option.
Chemotherapy is often the most common choice, which is a drug that is administered into the blood stream to destroy cancer cells or directly into the area of the body that is affected by the cancer. In most cases, it will be given directly into the blood stream for all forms of leukemia. The drug will begin to kill or stop the cancer cells from multiply or growing. The problem is that with this type of treatment even good cells are destroyed which bring on the side effects. The normal cells will be able to repair themselves whereas the cancer or abnormal cells cannot repair themselves. In some cases, patients will be given an injection to help their body produce more white blood cells to help fight infection.
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Biological therapy works with various substances that will aid the immune system in fighting cancer. This type of treatment uses antibodies to hunt down and destroy the cancer cells.
Radiation therapy utilizes high energy rays that kill cancer cells. This type of treatment is not usually the first options, but may be used due to the fact that it does not kill other cells like chemotherapy does. Radiation therapy in high doses can destroy cancer cells, stop them from growing larger, or stop them from dividing.
A bone marrow transplant is the best option when it comes to curing leukemia. A bone marrow transplant can only be performed once the patient is in remission or when all other treatments have failed. However, finding a perfect match is another problem. In the majority of cases, after a bone marrow transplant the patient will still undergo chemotherapy, however, their body will be able to withstand the destruction of the blood cells as bone marrow transplant aids in creating new normal cells.
Clinical trials are an option that many individuals turn to at times of being diagnosis with leukemia. One such trial utilized a new drug STI -571 that has proven a better prognosis for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. This is a pill taken once per day that seeks out cancer cells and destroys them, without the destruction of normal cells.