Diagnosis of leukemia can begin with doctor taking complete medical history and physical examination. Followed by undergoing certain blood tests, bone marrow test, biopsies and also imaging tests like:

  • Physical exam - signs and symptoms such as pale skin from anemia, swelling of your lymph nodes, and enlargement of your liver and spleen.
  • Blood tests- abnormal levels of red or white blood cells or platelets
  • Bone marrow test- Specialized tests to determine leukemia cells and to evaluate treatment options.

The treatment for Leukemia is based on the type of leukemia. In general there are 4 types of leukemia:

  • acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

The treatment for leukemia depends on type and stage of cancer. Treatment options for leukemia which involves one or more of the following:

Chemotherapy is the drug or chemical treatment to kill leukemia cells.

Stem cell or bone marrow transplant where unhealthy bone marrow is replaced by a healthy bone marrow.

Radiation therapy is high energy radiation given to prevent leukemia from spreading and to damage leukemia cells.

Targeted therapy uses drugs to attack specific cancer cells.

Biological and immune therapy where immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.

Treatment for leukemia has 3 stages :

  • Induction
  • Conditioning
  • Transplantation

Chemotherapy is the primary treatment to control white blood cell count. Patients with acute leukemia starts with single dose to high dose chemotherapy for 1-4 months. Moreover, patients with ALL receives intermittent treatment for upto 2 years or so.

The treatment for leukemia will destroy the individual’s bone marrow and further any leukemia cells that may be present. The donor cells are then infused.

It takes about 2 - 6 weeks for the donar stem cells to grow. Long term remission is a possibility. Along with chemotherapy , medication is also given to prevent and treat infection of any kind.

Post treatment regular follow-ups are important part of leukemia. Furthermore, regular visits to monitor progress and recovery from treatment. Also repeat of blood and bone marrow tests to rule out any signs of leukemia or side effects.

Many Leukemia or cancer treatment may have side effects. Some may last for a short duration. Also closely monitor any signs and symptoms for relapse of leukemia. Above all, report to your doctor immediately.

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