My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

Childhood Leukemia Subtypes
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These specialists also treat leukemia. If your doctor suspects leukemia, he or she may:. If your blood work points to possible leukemia, your doctor will want to find out what kind you might have. Your treatment plan will depend on the specific kind of leukemia that you have. These tests can help guide treatment. Sometimes they can help your doctor and you know whether your leukemia is likely to go into remission or come back. In some cases, the tests can predict survival rates.

Your doctor may also order other tests, including:. The goal of treatment for leukemia is to destroy the leukemia cells and allow normal cells to form in your bone marrow. Treatment decisions are based on the kind of leukemia you have, its stage , and your age and general health. Most treatment plans for acute lymphoblastic leukemia ALL have 3 steps. These are induction, consolidation, and maintenance. When there are no signs of leukemia for 5 years, a person is usually considered cured.

But if the leukemia doesn't go into remission, or if it comes back within the first few years, treatments may include more chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, or joining a clinical trial for new treatments. Treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia AML will be based on the genetic makeup of your abnormal myeloid cells.

This plan usually has 2 steps that includes induction of remission and post-remission therapy. Stem cell transplants and chemotherapy are also used when leukemia doesn't respond to treatment or if AML comes back after you haven't had symptoms for a period of time. To learn more about treatment of acute leukemia, see Medications and Other Treatment. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia CLL isn't always treated right away.

When CLL doesn't respond to treatment, or if it comes back after you haven't had symptoms for a period of time, you may be treated with more chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant. Or your doctor may recommend that you join a clinical trial for new treatments. When you have CLL, your body isn't able to fight infections very well. You and your doctor need to watch for any signs of infections, such as pneumonia or yeast infections.

Early treatment of these and other infections will help you live longer. You can sometimes prevent certain infections or keep from getting very sick by getting a flu shot or a pneumonia vaccine. Your doctor also may give you antibiotics to prevent infection while you are being treated for leukemia. Chronic myelogenous leukemia CML is treated right away. The most common choices include:.

For newly diagnosed people in the beginning stages of CML chronic phase , a tyrosine kinase inhibitor may work for many years. If they don't have a relapse, they may never need to have a stem cell transplant. But if they have a relapse, they may need to have a stem cell transplant. For people who are diagnosed with CML in the later stages accelerated or blast crisis phase , treatment may involve having chemotherapy or a tyrosine kinase inhibitor before having a stem cell transplant.

This can increase the chances of a successful transplant. Additional information about leukemia is provided by the National Cancer Institute. Clinical trials play a very important part in the treatment of leukemia. Clinical trials test the latest drugs and other new treatments. They have made it possible for many people who have leukemia to live longer. People who are in clinical trials get all the recommended treatments for their cancer and are closely watched.

Talk to your doctor about whether there is a clinical trial that might be good for you. For more information, see www. Treatments for children who have leukemia aren't the same as treatments for adults who have leukemia. After the leukemia has been treated, children may need to be monitored for treatment side effects that may appear months or years later.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia ALL is the most common leukemia in children. Treatments for ALL in children aren't the same as treatments for adults, and are different for infants, children, and adolescents. Treatments include chemotherapy , radiation therapy , chemotherapy with stem cell transplant , and targeted therapy. Acute myelogenous leukemia AML in children is grouped with other myeloid diseases that affect the blood and bone marrow, including chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Treatment for each type is different, but include chemotherapy , radiation therapy , stem cell transplant , and targeted therapy. Additional information about childhood leukemia is provided by the National Cancer Institute. Palliative care is a kind of care for people who have a serious illness.

It's different from care to cure your illness. Its goal is to improve your quality of lifeā€”not just in your body but also in your mind and spirit. You can have this care along with treatment to cure your illness. Palliative care providers will work to help control pain or side effects. They may help you decide what treatment you want or don't want.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) (for Parents) - KidsHealth

And they can help your loved ones understand how to support you. If you're interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor. For more information, see the topic Palliative Care. For some people who have advanced cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure the cancer no longer seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief.

But you can still get treatment to make you as comfortable as possible during the time you have left.

Cancers that Develop in Children

You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care. There is no known way to prevent most types of leukemia. Some types of leukemia may be prevented by avoiding high doses of radiation, exposure to the chemical benzene, smoking and other tobacco use, or certain types of chemotherapy used to treat other types of cancer. You can do things at home to help manage your side effects. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat these symptoms, be sure to follow them.

In general, healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your symptoms. Other problems that can be treated at home include:. Having cancer can be very stressful. It may feel overwhelming to face the challenges in front of you. Finding new ways of coping with the symptoms of stress may improve your overall quality of life.

Having cancer can change your life in many ways. 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 one drug.

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.

Your treatment plan will include the kind of medicine that works best for the specific type or subtype of leukemia that you have.

Leukemia: Charlie's Story

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. For chronic myelogenous leukemia CML , medicine is usually taken by mouth for as long as needed. Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy.

They usually go away when treatment stops. Your doctor will prescribe medicines to help relieve nausea. In rare cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia CLL , the spleen needs to be removed. This happens when the spleen is destroying red blood cells and platelets.

Caring for Children With Cancer

My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer (Hospital) 1st edition by Perry, Michael W () Paperback on *FREE* shipping on. This is a moving and realistic look at what it was like to care for children with cancer, particularly leukemia, on night shift in the Hematology-Oncology unit at one.

The operation is called a splenectomy. Often a swollen lymph node will be removed to confirm the diagnosis of leukemia. This operation is called a lymphadenectomy. Surgery is sometimes needed to place a central venous catheter into a large vein in the chest. The catheter is a small tube that is used to give you chemotherapy and other drugs. The tube can also be used to take samples of blood or for giving blood transfusions when needed. It prevents the need for many needle sticks during treatment. People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments.

Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include:. Mind-body treatments like the ones listed above may help you feel better. They can make it easier to cope with cancer treatments. They also may reduce chronic low back pain, joint pain, headaches, and pain from treatments. Before you try a complementary therapy, it is very important to talk to your doctor about the possible value and potential side effects. Let your doctor know if you are already using any such therapies. Complementary therapies aren't meant to take the place of standard medical treatment.

Questions to ask about treatment

But they may improve your quality of life and help you deal with the stress and side effects of cancer treatment. Author: Healthwise Staff. Medical Review: E. Skip Navigation. Topic Overview What is leukemia? White blood cells help your body fight infection. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

Platelets help your blood clot. Are there different types of leukemia? It may be acute or chronic. Acute leukemia gets worse very fast and may make you feel sick right away.

Stages of Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Other Myeloid Malignancies

Chronic leukemia gets worse slowly and may not cause symptoms for years. It may be lymphocytic or myelogenous. Lymphocytic or lymphoblastic leukemia affects white blood cells called lymphocytes. Myelogenous leukemia affects the other type of cells that normally become granulocytes, red blood cells, or platelets. The four main types of leukemia are: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.

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Acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL. Chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML. What causes leukemia? What are the symptoms? Symptoms may depend on what type of leukemia you have, but common symptoms include: A new lump or swollen gland in your neck, under your arm, or in your groin. Frequent nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums or rectum, more frequent bruising, or very heavy menstrual bleeding.

Frequent fevers. Night sweats. Bone pain. Unexplained appetite loss or recent weight loss. Feeling tired a lot without a known reason. Swelling and pain on the left side of the belly. How is leukemia diagnosed? To find out if you have leukemia, a doctor will: Ask questions about your past health and symptoms. Do a physical exam. The doctor will look for swollen lymph nodes and check to see if your spleen or liver is enlarged. Order blood tests.

Leukemia causes a high level of white blood cells and low levels of other types of blood cells. How is it treated?

Leukemia - Chronic T-Cell Lymphocytic: Symptoms and Signs

If you have acute leukemia, you will need quick treatment to stop the rapid growth of leukemia cells. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia may not need to be treated until you have symptoms. But chronic myelogenous leukemia will probably be treated right away. Treatments for leukemia include: Chemotherapy. This is the main treatment for most types of leukemia. Stem cell transplant.

Stem cells can rebuild your supply of normal blood cells and boost your immune system. Targeted therapy. This is the use of special medicines that stop cancer cells from multiplying. Cause Experts don't know what causes leukemia. Symptoms Symptoms of acute leukemia depend on how much the cancer has grown. They may include: A new lump or swollen gland in your neck, under your arm, or in your groin. What Happens Your bone marrow is where stem cells grow. Remission Leukemia can go away.

What Increases Your Risk Some things can increase your chances of getting leukemia. General risk factors for leukemia Exposure to high levels of radiation. Chemotherapy or radiation used to treat a previous cancer. Conditions caused by abnormal chromosomes , such as Down syndrome. Other risk factors for AML Exposure to chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde. Other risk factors for CLL Your family history.

In some cases, CLL runs in families.

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  7. Symptoms of leukemia.

Being middle-aged or older, male, and white. Being infected with a virus known as HTLV When To Call a Doctor Call your doctor to schedule an appointment if you have any symptoms, such as: A new lump or swollen gland in your neck, under your arm, or in your groin. Watchful waiting Watchful waiting is a period when your doctor is checking you regularly but not treating you. During watchful waiting, you will: Have regular appointments with your doctor.

Have regular medical tests, including scans and blood tests. Be told which symptoms to report to your doctor immediately. Who to see Health professionals who can evaluate symptoms of leukemia include the following: Family medicine physician Internist Pediatrician Nurse practitioner Physician assistant The diagnosis of leukemia will be done by a medical oncologist , pediatric oncologist, or hematologist.

Exams and Tests Tests to diagnose leukemia If your doctor suspects leukemia, he or she may: Ask about your medical history.

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This test lets the doctor look at cells from inside your bone. Early treatment of these and other infections will help you live longer. If your blood tests aren't normal, the doctor may want to do a bone marrow biopsy. Hailey joined her older sister at preschool in September A qualitative approach with phenomenological design was used.

Check for enlarged lymph nodes in your neck, underarm, or groin. Check for an enlarged liver or spleen. Do a complete blood count CBC and a blood chemistry. You should visit your GP if you have any persistent or worrying symptoms. These symptoms can have causes other than cancer, but it's a good idea to get them checked out.

A new type of treatment involves a stem cell or bone marrow transplant , where donated cells called stem cells are transplanted into your body so you start to produce healthy white blood cells. Find out more about treating CLL. Generally, about 7 out of 10 people will survive their leukaemia for 5 years or more after being diagnosed. It's not clear what causes CLL. But having certain genes can increase your chances of developing CLL. You may be at a slightly higher risk of it if you have a close family member with it, although this risk is still small. You may find it useful to find out as much as you can about the condition and speak to others affected by it.