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Treatments for leukemia
If you have leukemia, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your needs and may include a combination of different treatments. When deciding which treatments to offer for leukemia, your healthcare team will consider:
- the type of leukemia
- your age
- chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities
- your overall health
The following are treatment options for leukemia:
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for many kinds of leukemia.
Stem cell transplant may be an option for some people younger than 55 years of age.
Radiation therapy is most often used to prevent leukemia from spreading to, or treat leukemia that has spread to, the central nervous system (CNS). It is also used to prepare the bone marrow for stem cell transplant.
Targeted therapy is offered for some types of leukemia.
Watchful waiting is a treatment option for some people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Supportive therapy is given to manage the expected complications of the leukemia and its treatments.
Treatment by type
The healthcare team will create a treatment plan based on your needs and the type of leukemia you have. Find out more about treatments for the 4 main types of leukemia:
- acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
Other treatments may be offered for other types of leukemia.
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. You will need to have regular follow-up visits. These visits allow your healthcare team to monitor your progress and recovery from treatment.
Many clinical trials in Canada are open to people with cancer. Clinical trials look at new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.
Questions to ask about treatment
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about treatment.
Support from someone who has ‘been there’
The Canadian Cancer Society’s peer support program is a telephone support service that matches cancer patients and their caregivers with specially trained volunteers.