Leukemia is a form of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. There are two forms of leukemia, chronic and severe, which can be treated differently and have different symptoms. Acute leukemia quickly progresses and requires immediate, aggressive treatment.
It may take months or years to show symptoms and might not require immediate treatment but will require ongoing monitoring. Chemotherapy uses chemicals to treat the cancer. It causes many side effects like hair loss, nausea and decrease of the immune system. The whole course of therapy can be from two to five years for example upkeep. This is the most common type of therapy for leukemia with the desired result being complete remission.
Even without symptoms, ongoing monitoring must happen to guard against relapse. Radiation therapy is another type of treatment. It’s painless and in low doses causes very few side effects. Where the radiation is focused and the exposure levels will determine the negative effects, if any, and the severity of those.
Damage to the skin, swelling and infertility are one of the possible side effects. A bone marrow transplant is an effective way to prolong the life span of cancer patients. It is, though, a risky operation and takes a donor which could be hard in attaining. These surgeries should be done at state of the art hospitals specializing in cancer therapy. This operation has a higher mortality rate and is therefore used only in life threatening circumstances.
It is a way to stimulate the immune system so the body can attack the cancer cells. This sort of therapy is still in its early phases and always under development. It’s thought that such a treatment may prove less dangerous than chemotherapy or radiation treatment and might someday supplant these therapies as a way of treating cancer. Long term effects of leukemia treatments can lead to anemia. This side effect may be treated by blood transfusions or platelet transfusions.
There are dangers with transfusions but it is believed transfusions can lower the threat of further complications like heart attacks. Doses of antibiotics are also generally prescribed to leukemia patients to help counteract the threat of disease cause by diminished immune system or treatment side effects.
There are now almost 200,000 people in the United States diagnosed with leukemia and an estimated 35,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year. It’s the leading cause of death for individuals under the age of 20. There are lots of treatment facilities throughout the USA specializing in cancer therapy. Early diagnosis, aggressive treatment, and observation can help prolong life and increase chances of a person going into remission.