Blood Cancer Treatment
Blood cancer is a type of cancer ailment which either affects the blood or the bone marrow (spongy central section of bones). It involves abnormal production of blood cells. 90 percent of the diagnosed cases are in the adults while the rest of the 10 percent cases are reported in children.
Blood cancer treatment is based upon the types and sub-types of the ailment. There are primarily four types of this cancer with their respective sub-types. This article tries to understand the available remedy options for this dreadful disease and their aims.
Treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL):
The term acute implies that the disease turns fatal in a short period of time. Lymphoblastic refers to immature blood cells being produced abnormally in the bone marrow. Death is caused when normal cells are completely replaced by the rogue cells.
Early diagnosis of the symptoms is imperative for ensuring favourable results of remedy. It is aimed at causing absence of the detectable malignant cells from the body for long duration of time.
Chemotherapy, usage of prescribed steroids, radiation therapy, intensive combined remedies like stem cell or bone marrow transplants and growth factors are some of the techniques available to treat ALL.
In the United States, the incidence of ALL is roughly 6000 new cases per year (until 2009). It is the most common form of this cancer in children with as many as 70 percent cases diagnosed in them falling under this group. Age of the patient, sub-type of ALL affected with and the extent of care received by the patient are some of the vital factors affecting the remedy.
Treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL):
The term chronic refers to the fact that the symptoms takes months or even years to develop and become apparent. CLL is a disease mostly affecting adults over the age of 50 years and predominantly in men. Unfortunately, it is considered incurable. The aim of the remedy is focused on controlling the progression of the disease by curbing its symptoms.
However, early diagnosis of symptoms does not improve the survival time. That is why, the disease is rather monitored for any observable changes in pattern. The decision to treat this disease is taken when it is confirmed that the quality of life of the patient is at stake.
It is difficult to decide when to start the remedy. The National Cancer Institute Working Group guidelines for treatment are followed by the doctors along with meeting of certain specific markers before it is initiated. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplantation and biological therapy are the available treatment options for CLL.
Treatment for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML):
Several anti-cancer drugs are effective in treating this cancer type. However, age of the patient and the sub-type of AML are crucial factors which decide the choice of remedy. Chemotherapy technique ensures five year survival rate from AML by 40 percent. Some doctors apply a combination therapy involving the usage of anti-cancer drugs and making the patient under go chemotherapy simultaneously. This technique is found to be effective in causing absence of signs of AML early.
Controlling the destruction in the bone marrow, spreading of the disease to the entire body and protecting the central nervous system damage even before it is involved are the aims of the treatment. The disease affects men and women equally with 1.2 percent of its death rate in the United States.
Treatment for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML):
There are many treatment options available for this cancer affecting the adults mainly. However, the anti-cancer drug Imatinib is prescribed in most of the cases. This single drug is found to keep the signs of CML under check for five years. The drug has the added advantages of possessing relatively less number of side effects and the comfort of taking it orally at home.
Severe cases of this cancer can be treated by a combined technique of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplantation. Though the approach offers close to permanent cure, 30 percent patients are found to die from the complications of the process involved.
Research on Blood Cancer Treatment through Mordern Medicine:
The research in this area can be divided into two types. They are either the clinical research or basic science research. The former focuses on understanding the ailment and coming out with ways which can be immediately applicable on the patients. The later, studies the disease process thoroughly and the results from such studies take time to come out but are usually the ground breaking ones.
Blood Cancer Treatment through Alternative Medicines and Complementary Therapies:
Of late, researchers and medical practitioners from the western world are increasing showing interest in the efficacy of the age old and traditional medical practices of the east. Some of the well-known and established fields on their own right in Eastern medicine are Ayurveda from India, traditional Chinese medicine and Unani Medicine.
There have been several claims made by these alternative techniques to address this cancer. But lack of sufficient scientific evidences to support these claims have lead to the drought of credibility on these ancient medical practices.
In the United States, the American National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the agency which studies the efficacy of these non-evidence based medicine therapies against this cancer and other dreadful ailments.