Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. There are two types of leukemia, chronic and acute, which are treated differently and have different symptoms. Acute leukemia rapidly progresses and needs immediate, aggressive treatment. Chronic leukemia can take months or years to show symptoms and may not need immediate treatment but will require ongoing monitoring.
Chemotherapy utilizes chemicals to treat the cancer. It causes many side effects such as hair loss, nausea and decline of the immune system. The complete course of therapy can be from two to five years including maintenance. This is the most common form of treatment for leukemia with the desired result being total remission. Even without symptoms, ongoing monitoring must occur to guard against relapse.
Radiation therapy is another form of treatment. It is painless and in low doses causes very few side effects. Where the radiation is concentrated and the exposure levels will determine the side effects, if any, and the severity of them. Damage to the skin, swelling and infertility are among the possible side effects.
A bone marrow transplant is an effective way to prolong the...