[toc]Leukemia treatment varies based on the age, severity and the leukemia cells found in the fluid. There are various types of treatments available for leukemia – biological therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and the radiation therapy. Surgical removal of the spleen is also required at times.
The overall health of the affected is also considered and it is always advised to consult the doctor to offer the right treatment for leukemia. Sometimes, a combination of one or more treatment methods is also used. When you are to undergo any of these treatment methods, you can check with the doctor for the associated side effects. These are not the same for all.
5 Various Treatments For Leukemia
Chemotherapy is offered in various ways. The patients are given the medicines that can be taken orally. The drugs are also given into the vein through the IV tube. The drugs can also be given through a catheter.
The catheter is placed on the chest and the drug is sent through this to the vein. This is an alternative to injection which may spoil the veins and skin. Intrathecal therapy is given if leukemia cells are found in the brain fluid.
Chronic and acute leukemia are treated with the targeted therapy. The drugs are suggested in this method. The drugs administered are the Imatinib tablets, which are the first approved drugs to be used for the targeted therapy. This therapy helps in spoiling the growth of the leukemia cells.
The abnormal protein which is responsible for the growth of the leukemia cells is blocked. There are a few side effects associated and the doctors often give medications to overcome the side effects.
This therapy aims at enhancing the immune system of the body to fight against leukemia naturally. The substance called monoclonal antibody is given through the IV tube. This substance has toxins and gets itself fixed with the leukemia cells. The toxins present in the monoclonal antibody destroy the leukemia cells.
Interferon is another biological therapy used. This decreases the growth rate of the leukemia cells. It can be injected under the skin’s layer or in the muscles. This also destroys the defense system of the leukemia cells.
This treatment involves the passing of high radio waves to destroy the leukemia cells. The radio waves are passed from huge machines to the various parts of the body like spleen and brain where the leukemia cells are located.
This therapy has to be done for 5 days a week and shall continue for many weeks. There are many side effects associated. The patients need to rest, but also need to remain active as much as possible as the continuous radio therapy can make anyone tired.
Stem Cell Replacement
Most of the aforementioned therapies destroy not only the leukemia cells but also the blood cells which make it essential to receive the stem cell therapy. This therapy leads to the growth of new blood cells. Before the chemotherapy and radio therapy are done, the stem cells can be removed from your body.
They are stored and transplanted later. The stem cells can also be transplanted from the close family members and identical twins.Treatment of leukemia has severe side effects. When you undergo these treatments, it is essential to check with the doctor about the possible side effects and prepare yourself for the same.