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How do you treat leukemia?

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Quick Answer

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for leukemia. Radiation therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy also treat leukemia, reports MedicineNet. Stem cell transplants are most likely to treat chronic leukemia as this form of the disease is less likely to respond to other treatments.

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How do you treat leukemia?
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Full Answer

Treating leukemia with chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs that cause the death of cells that divide quickly. Doctors commonly administer chemotherapy orally or intravenously and may involve using a combination of drugs. Some forms of chemotherapy cause side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea and blood loss. Chemotherapy can potentially cause damage to the adult reproductive system, explains MedicineNet.

In contrast to some forms of chemotherapy, the side effects of radiation therapy are generally temporary. Radiation therapy delivers high energy radiation to leukemia cells that have expanded to areas such as the brain or spleen, reports MedicineNet.

Using biological therapy as a leukemia treatment involves the use of synthetic agents or substances derived from living organisms. Tumor vaccines, antibodies, and immune system cytokines are biological therapies that assist the immune system in fighting against leukemia cells, states MedicineNet.

Specific drugs that impair the function of leukemia cells without killing them are called targeted therapies or precision medicines. This form of treatment is less likely to damage healthy cells and may assist in treating leukemia by preventing the growth of cancerous cells, according to MedicineNet.

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