Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for
many types of
leukemia. Even when a cure isn't possible,
chemotherapy may help you live longer and feel better.
Chemotherapy for leukemia is usually a combination of drugs. This is
because different drugs attack leukemia cells in different ways. The
combination also helps keep the leukemia cells from becoming resistant to any
Along with the chemotherapy drugs, other medicines may be given to help the chemotherapy drugs work better and prevent infection or bleeding. These drugs include epoetin and hematopoietic stimulants.
Some types of acute leukemia spread to the brain and spinal cord. Regular chemotherapy can't reach those areas, because your body puts up a special barrier to protect them. A different way of giving chemotherapy, called intrathecal chemotherapy, treats these areas by injecting the drugs directly into your spinal canal to attack any leukemia cells there.
For acute leukemia
Your treatment plan will include the kind of medicine that works best for the specific type or subtype of leukemia that you have.
For chronic leukemia
Medicines used for treatments for
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are taken orally (by mouth) or given
intravenously for limited periods of time. If there is
relapse, medicines are given again.
chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), medicine is
usually taken by mouth for as long as needed.
Medicine for nausea and vomiting
vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy. They usually go away when treatment stops. Your doctor will prescribe
medicines to help relieve nausea.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
December 14, 2012
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