Leukemia – Treatment and Prevention of Leukemia
Leukemia is a condition in which the bone marrow is affected. It is a cancer and occurs due to uncontrolled growth of white blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow. These abnormal cells are called as leukemia cells and they suppress the growth of normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Leukemia cells may also lead to other serious conditions like infections, bleeding and anaemia. The treatment and prevention of leukemia are discussed below.
Leukemia treatment depends on factors such as form of leukemia, person’s age and whether they are found in areas other than bone marrow. The following are the treatment methods of leukemia .
- Radiation therapy – In this therapy high energy beams and X-Rays are used to prevent the leukemia cells growth and division. The affected person is made to lie on a table and a machine that directs radiations are passed over the person. The radiations detect the specific area where there is growth of leukemia cells and thus the cells are killed.
- Targeted therapy – This therapy uses drugs that target specific substances responsible for the cancer cells. The drugs inhibit the action of the substance in the leukemia cells and thus help in controlling the disease.
- Biological therapy – This therapy helps in recognizing the immune system and kills the leukemia cells.
- Chemotherapy – In this therapy, chemicals that kill leukemia cells are used. Either single or combination of chemicals are given in a pill form or through injections.
- Stem cell transplantation – This is a procedure in which the diseased bone marrow is replaced with healthy bone marrow. Large doses of radiation therapy or chemotherapy is given before the transplantation procedure to destroy the cancer cells. Then blood-forming stem cells are injected so that new cells are formed. A person’s own stem cells or donor cells are injected.
Prevention of Leukemia
Leukemia cannot be prevented. The only way to prevent the risk of developing the condition is to avoid the risk factors. Some of the measures include:
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiations
- Avoid exposure to chemicals
- Quit smoking