Treatment for leukemia depends on factors such as age, overall health, the type of leukemia and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplantation.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the major form of treatment for leukemia. This drug treatment uses chemicals to kill leukemia cells.
- Biological therapy. Biological therapy works by using treatments that help your immune system recognize and attack leukemia cells.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific vulnerabilities within your cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to damage leukemia cells and stop their growth. Radiation therapy may be used to prepare for a stem cell transplant.
- Stem cell transplant. A stem cell transplant is a procedure to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.
As in Stu’s case, before a stem cell transplant, the patient receives high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy diseased bone marrow. This is followed by an infusion of stem cells that help to rebuild bone marrow.