ALL tends to grow very quickly and often needs to be treated right
Your treatment choices depend on:
- The type of ALL you have
- Test results
- Your age
- Your overall health
- If ALL has spread to your brain or spinal cord
- Chromosome changes found in your ALL cells
The goal of treatment may be to cure you, control the cancer, or help
ease problems caused by cancer. Talk with your healthcare team about your treatment
choices, the goals of treatment, and what the risks and side effects may be.
Types of treatment for cancer are either local or systemic. Local
treatments remove, destroy, or control cancer cells in one area. Surgery and radiation
are local treatments that are rarely used for ALL.
Systemic treatment is used to destroy or control cancer cells that
have traveled around your body. When taken by pill or injection, chemotherapy is a
systemic treatment. This is the way most people with ALL are treated.
You may have just one treatment or a combination of treatments. Tests
will be done during treatment to see how well it's working.
Treatments for ALL include:
- Targeted therapy
- Stem cell transplant with high-dose chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treatment is commonly done in 3 phases:
Induction therapy is done to kill
as many cancer cells as possible. More than 1 kind of chemotherapy medicine is
used and the doses are strong. Most people stay in the hospital for this part of
treatment. The goal is to put the ALL in remission, which means no ALL cells can
Consolidation therapy is used to
kill any ALL cells that may be left in the body after induction. It's also called
intensification. High doses of chemo are given in cycles over 4 to 6 months.
Maintenance therapy lasts about 2
years. In most cases, the medicines are pills you can take at home. Lower doses
are used, so side effects tend to be better. This treatment is done to help keep
ALL from coming back.
Talk with your healthcare providers about your treatment options.
Make a list of questions. Think about the benefits and possible side effects of each
option. Talk about your concerns with your healthcare provider before making a