Chemotherapy for Leukemia

Chemotherapy for Leukemia

White blood cells are of utmost importance to the body. White blood cells are those cells, which protect you against diseases.

Leukemia is a cancer, which happens when there is an abnormal growth of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are supposed to defend the body against infections and in case of the abnormal production of these cells, white blood cells become dangerous for the body. Leukemia is a dangerous disease; it is the serious form of cancer.

In chemotherapy, treatment doctors use the anticancer drug. Doctors inject these drugs in the body of a cancer patient via either vein or other via skin. There is also a procedure where these drugs go into the bloodstream through mouth. Through chemotherapy, anti-cancer drugs enter the bloodstream and try to control the growth of abnormal cancerous cells.

Chemotherapy is an effective method for the cancerous patients and doctors use it in majority of cases.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia is also AML and it attacks the bone marrow and blood. This leukemia has certain other names like acute myelogenous leukemia or non-lymphocytic Leukemia. This type of leukemia is very common among adults. Chemotherapy is an effective way to treat acute myeloid leukemia. After the first round of chemo, 90% of cancerous patients go into remission.

This type of cancer is acute because it has the potential to spread rapidly after its onset. This is the very reason why the treatment should start as early as possible. Chemotherapy for Leukemia success rate is quite high.  Almost 90 percent patients go into remission after having the first round of chemotherapy. Remission means the patients exhibit few or no signs at all of cancer.

Chemotherapy Treatment for Leukemia

 Chemotherapy is the basic treatment for AML. There are few exceptions where this treatment is not good for certain patients. These patients are mostly people with week bones and people with old age. Chemotherapy treatment for leukemia consists of certain phases, which means that chemo is given in certain phases to the patient to make sure that it is working.

  • Induction – The first phase of chemotherapy treatment for leukemia is induction. The period of this treatment is short but effective. The treatment of induction can go on for a week. The cells of the bone marrow, which becomes abnormal because of Leukemia, are blasts. The main purpose of induction is to clear the body of blasts and to make sure that the chemo is restoring the normal level of white blood cells in the body.
  • Consolidation – the second phase of chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid leukemia is consolidation. After the phase of induction, few blasts remain in the body; these blasts get off from the body by the phase of consolidation. This is an effective ways to remove from the body even those blasts, which are not visible from the tests. It is an effective chemotherapy treatment and it follows the cycle of few weeks.
  • Maintenance – This disease is dangerous in a sense that its signs take so long to diminish completely from the body. After the first two phases of induction or consolidation there comes another phase, which is maintenance. In this phase, certain doctors give certain other drugs to the patient to make sure that the person is having normal level of white blood cells in the body. The phase of maintenance can go on for months and even for years. Leukemia takes so long to leave the body completely and doctors make sure that they take all the precautions, which are necessary to rid the person of Leukemia. This phase is extensive and its treatment can go on for a long period.

Chemotherapy treatment for acute myeloid leukemia is an extensive treatment. Along with being extensive, it is expensive treatment as well. The drugs, which doctors give in this treatment, are expensive drugs. The phase of induction in the chemotherapy treatment for leukemia is the only phase, which does not take much time. The other phases of chemotherapy treatment for lymphocytic leukemia take much more time. The maintenance phase of this treatment is the extensive of all phases and it is this phase, which takes the most time. This Treatment is extensive and expensive.

Chemotherapy is good for acute myeloid leukemia but it does have certain side effects. When a cancer patient is going through chemotherapy, he is likely to lose either all or most of his hairs. Along with this, the people who go through chemo lose most of their weight and appetite as well. Leukemia patients also experience nausea or vomiting as long as chemotherapy is going on. Other than all these Side Effects there is one other side effect which is horrendous than the rest. Patients of Lymphocytic Leukemia who choose chemotherapy as a treatment can experience low blood cells count. The drugs in chemo can attack the normal cells as well. This results in low blood cells count. When a person has low blood cell count, he is likely to get the extreme infection out of a small wound. People who go through this treatment also have problems when it comes to clotting the blood out of wound. These are the side effects of chemotherapy for Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Doctors give these drugs to leukemia patients.

  • Fludarabine
  • Mitoxantrone
  • Etoposide (VP-16)
  • 6-thioguanine (6-TG)
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone or dexamethasone
  • Methotrexate (MTX)
  • 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP)
  • Azacitidine (Vidaza)
  • Decitabine (Dacogen)

Chemotherapy is the effective treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. Though it has, certain side effects still doctors prefer it over other treatments. When a person is going through chemotherapy, he or she is likely to feel allergic to vegetables or fruits. The success rate of this treatment is high but the process is very extensive. Drugs, which patients use in chemotherapy, are expensive drugs. Regular check-up is the only way through which a person makes sure that he is healthy. Health is wealth. We should try our best to stay healthy through good diet and healthy habits.

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