Healthy Living

Treatments for Leukemia

Treatments for Leukemia

Key Takeaways

  • The main task of biological therapy is to enhance our body’s immune coordination. 
  • More often than not, this stem cell therapy is given in conjunction with chemotherapy.
  • Surgery is often used to treat cancer.

When selecting a cure for blood cancer, one does not decide haphazardly. Thorough research about the background of the type of treatment you are looking into should be conducted. It is also salient to know the effects of the various options so as to prepare the client and the relatives about the things they have to expect, and also to orient them what to do and what not to do while the person is undergoing the chosen regimen. Furthermore, we have to keep in mind the fact that not everyone with cancer can tolerate the process of some cures. For this reason, we need to be open-minded about changing from one plan to another example: from chemotherapy to radiation therapy.

Biological Therapy

Although other forms of treatment for leukemia are more popular than biological therapy, it has been recognized and used for many years. Primarily, the reason why more and more cancer patients are choosing this method is because it exhibits a smaller number of side effects compared to the others.

The main task of biological therapy is to enhance our body’s immune coordination. Based on what most of us already know, our body is equipped with a system that automatically combats foreign bodies and abnormal entities inside; this is not the case for people with blood malignancy. This treatment then makes the growth of the cancerous cells sluggish by strengthening our immunity and making the malignant blood cells easily recognizable. Different types of biological therapies include oncolytic virus therapy, adaptive cell transfers, therapy using BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin), cytokine therapy and vaccines specifically created to combat cancer.

This kind of cure program is currently an active area for enhanced research and development.

Precision Medicines

Just like the aforementioned option, this one targets molecules that play an important role in battling cancer specifically. One of the main jobs of precision medicines is to impede proliferation of tumor cells (in this case, multiplication of RBCs, WBCs and platelets). Unlike chemotherapy, however, this type of cure does not aim to kill the cells but instead they try to "brainwash" in layman’s term cells to reverse their function. This approach is personalized, at it is highly dependent on the genes and proteins present in the blood stream of the cancer patient.

Various precision medicines are available, such as apoptosis inducers (it enhances cell suicide), antibody targeted (wherein toxins are used as bait for cancer cells so they die upon engulfing the toxic molecule), and inhibiting angiogenesis (blood vessels that supply nutrients for the cancerous cells are blocked).

Stem Cell Therapy

This kind of treatment is rapidly garnering the attention of the general population. More often than not, this stem cell therapy is given in conjunction with chemotherapy. Healthy cells from the bone marrow of a donor are extracted and transplanted to the leukemic patient. The new cells will now start to create a healthy generation of blood cells. Another advantage would be the inclusion of other immunities from the donor; this then can help fight off malignant cells on top of the patient’s own immune system.

Chemotherapy

There is no doubt that chemotherapy can kill all malignant cells faster than other cures, although with this kind of method, it inevitably destroys normal cells as well (hence the addition of stem cell therapy). The drugs invade the bod, resulting in more side effects. These drugs can be given orally, through injections or through intravenous fluids. Most of the time, combinations of multiple chemicals are used for this treatment.

Surgery

Surgery is often the most practical solution for cancer. For leukemia, surgeries are conducted to address problems in bone marrow. There are also times wherein surgeries are done to remove organs that are severely damaged, such as the spleen.

Preparation for the treatments for leukemia entails holistic readiness – physically, emotionally, mentally and even financially, not only for the patient but for the whole family as well.