Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is one of the most dangerous oncohematological diseases. In a natural course, it leads to the death of a patient within a few months, but with the help of chemotherapy, it is possible to significantly increase life expectancy, and sometimes completely cure the disease. The best treatment successes can be achieved in children, while in adults relapses occur much more often.
What is induction chemotherapy?
The main treatment option in acute lymphoblastic leukemia is chemotherapy. It is performed in several stages:
- Supportive care.
After the diagnostics of the disease, the treatment begins with induction. It suggests an intensive course of chemotherapy. 3 drugs are administered simultaneously. If the patient is assigned to a high-risk group, the fourth drug will be added.
The purpose of induction is to achieve a state of complete remission. A remission is a reduction in the levels of blast cells in the red bone marrow up to 5% or less. In response to chemotherapy, a prognosis of the disease outcome can be made and further treatment tactics can be determined.
The induction period has a short duration, usually several weeks. In subsequent stages, chemotherapy becomes less intense, but longer. It is required for relapse prevention.
A child may experience side effects. Their cause is that induction chemotherapy is highly intense. According to modern protocols, the patient receives 3, and sometimes 4, high-dose drugs.
Common symptom caused by induction:
- hair loss;
- bowel disorders;
- decreased appetite;
Other symptoms appear due to the decreased number of blood cells. This inevitably occurs, since chemotherapy blocks primarily cell division, which divide quickly and often. Not only the tumor suffers, but also the healthy cells of the child's body, especially the bone marrow. Such treatment has the following side effects:
- bruises on the body, nosebleeds due to the decreased number of platelets;
- increased risk of infections – a consequence of a reduced production of leukocytes;
- skin paleness, tachycardia, shortness of breath – symptoms caused by the reduced production of erythrocytes.
The number of cells in the blood remains low during the entire period of induction, as well as during a few weeks after the therapy completion. It increases gradually. The protocols for provision of medical care to children abroad allow for the elimination of these complications by means of transfusion of blood and its components. The feedback from patients and their parents suggests that this procedure helps to overcome most of the unpleasant and dangerous symptoms.
Due to weak immunity, some patients have infectious complications. According to the protocol, the antibiotics can be prescribed in the case of bacterial complications. Additional surgery may be occasionally required for dissection of the abscesses.
Some drugs have the following side effects:
- dry eye syndrome;
- impaired coordination;
- tingling in legs and arms.
A rare complication is the formation of another cancer. It can be acute myeloid leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Tumor lysis syndrome is rare in oncology, as it is observed only in patients who receive a course of induction therapy at the advanced stage of the disease. Once cancer cells die, their contents will enter the bloodstream and overload the excretory system. The kidneys are most affected. Sometimes electrolyte disturbances can occur, which negatively affects the condition of the heart and nervous system. Nonetheless, good clinics abroad constantly examine the patient. In the case of diagnostics of complications resulting from the destruction of the tumor, the protocols suggest supportive medical care.
Pediatric oncology has achieved great success in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In addition, young age is a prognostically favorable factor in B-cell leukemia. The disease is much more severe in adults, while relapses occur more often.
The remission in the treatment of a child is achieved in 95% of cases within one month after the completion of the induction phase. The tests show that the number of blast cells in the red bone marrow is reduced up to 5% or less. This is an indicator of the norm, because such a number of cells are contained in the bone marrow of a healthy person.
In the future, the risk of relapse depends on many factors,. These are:
- levels of blast cells in the blood at the beginning of treatment;
- type of leukemia – relapses are much less common in B-cell leukemia in children under 9 years old;
- genetic changes in tumor cells;
- response to treatment – the risk of relapse is lower if the patient responds well to chemotherapy within 1-2 weeks after its initiation.
Treatment abroad with the Booking Health company
To receive the high-quality treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children at an affordable price, please contact the Booking Health company. You will be treated by the best specialists in the world according to modern healthcare protocols. We provide the following services and benefits:
- Selection of the best clinic, which specializes in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and achieves the best results in this field of oncology.
- Reduced cost of medical services due to the lack of coefficients and overpricing for foreign patients.
- Booking an appointment on the most suitable dates for you.
- Preparation of the program taking into account previously performed diagnostics.
- Establishment of communication directly with your attending physician.
- Monitoring of the program at all its stages.
- Control of the costs of procedures and operations, return of unspent funds.
- Buying and forwarding of medicines.
- Organization of additional diagnostics, conservative treatment, surgery or rehabilitation.
- Communication with the clinic upon completion of surgery or chemotherapeutic treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
People leave good reviews about our work. The Booking Health company will fully arrange your medical treatment abroad, help you to prepare the documents, translate your medical history, book a hotel and airline tickets. We will meet you at the airport, take you to the clinic and provide interpreting services. We offer top-class services at affordable price, so you will receive high-quality medical care and save a lot of money.