When you are first diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia, you may wonder what you can and should do to treat it. After all, when your cancer emanates from your blood and your bone marrow, you may be skeptical if there is anything you can do to overcome this form of cancer. However, there are many cancer treatments that can be used to help treat lymphocytic leukemia.
Chemotherapy is the one of the first treatments usually recommended for lymphocytic leukemia. This treatment is usually done as an outpatient procedure for people with either acute or chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Chemotherapy is often a process in which a person receives cancer-fighting drugs injected directly into their veins through an IV. However, chemo may also be administered through pills or may even be injected directly into the affected region of the body. It all depends on the stage and type of the cancer.
Another first line of defense against lymphocytic leukemia is radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is a form of treatment that can be either external or internal. This means that radioactive capsules can be placed inside the body to release radiation over an extended period of time in a region of the body, or radiation may be sent through a machine into the body from the outside.
Radiation therapy targets malignant cells to kill the cancer cells and stop their growth. Sometimes, if a cancer seems particularly aggressive (is spreading fast), radiation may be used in conjunction with chemotherapy to fight the cancer in two ways.
Cancer treatments are forever evolving as doctors and researchers learn new things about how cancer behaves and reacts to certain treatments. As such, there are often clinical trials and experimental treatments going on.
Currently, for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, new and experimental treatments include combining chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. The idea here is to kill off the cancerous cells in the blood and bone marrow and replace the cells that form blood and bone marrow with new, non-cancerous ones. The stem cells come from a donor and are kept frozen until chemo is complete, and they can be infused into the patient (similar to a bone marrow transplant but with cells that will grow into blood and marrow).
Other clinical trials involve immunotherapy in which a person's own immune system is encouraged to or taught to fight the cancer cells itself. This can be done using a variety of different methods, some of which are currently being researched.
There are many options to help you overcome your lymphocytic leukemia. Speak with your doctor about a referral to a professional treatment center, like Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada, to get started on your treatment.