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5 Treatment Options For Leukemia

With the advancement in technology, the treatment of cancer has been improving. Of all types of cancers, one of the most dangerous ones is leukemia. It has two types: acute and chronic. While the former is curable, the latter needs to be treated consistently, and never really goes away. Here are some ways in which it is treated.

Radiation

The most common and initial way to treat cancer cells is via radiation. There are two different ways in which the radiation therapy is administered. It is either area specific or covers the whole body. This depends on whether the leukemia cells have accumulated in one place or are spread throughout. The total body irradiation is also done before bone marrow transplantation.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is usually carried out if radiation fails to work. Sometimes it is also the first options and patients begin their treatment with this treatment method. In chemotherapy, very strong medicines are administered via IV that cover all parts of the body through the blood stream and fight cancer. However, the anticancer drug is unable to reach the main nervous system for which the medicine is administered to the cerebrospinal fluid.

Bone Marrow Transplantation

A bone marrow transplant involves completely eradicating all blood cells, those causing cancer and those normal, in the bone marrow. A donor’s stem cells are preserved after the bone marrows match. These are given to the patient so he can develop new blood cells with the help of the transplanted ones.

Immunotherapy

One of the most recent treatment options for leukemia includes immunotherapy that impels the natural immune system of a person to fight cancer cells. This type of therapy can be done in a number of different ways including monoclonal antibodies, cancer vaccines or nonspecific immunotherapies. All of these in some way aid the immune system and help it fight cancer.

Maintenance Therapy

Once the regular or mainstream therapy is done, the follow up therapy begins that ensures that the patient is cancer-free. In case there are any cancer cells left, this is supposed to kill them. Moreover, if a regrowth is witnessed, maintenance therapy is supposed to deal with that as well. The therapy basically involves a more dilute version of chemotherapy via tablets or IV. The follow up time is usually 3 years.

There are a number of new studies being carried out to find more advanced treatment options for cancer. Microarrays are playing a pivotal role in this regard.