Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a dangerous hematologic disease, which is one and a half times more common in children than in adults. The peak incidence occurs at the age of 5 years. All patients receive chemotherapy. It is performed in several stages. There can also be used other treatments, such as bone marrow transplantation, irradiation of the brain or testicles.
What is induction?
The treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia does not involve surgery as in other types of cancer. The treatment is based on chemotherapy. The treatment involves three stages. These are:
- Maintenance therapy.
The induction phase aims to achieve remission. This is the most active treatment phase when several drugs are administered in large doses. In complete remission, a bone marrow testing shows that it contains no more than 5% of blast cells. Most patients manage to achieve remission. However, they need additional treatment to avoid a relapse.
Side effects of induction
Induction involves the administration of high doses of chemotherapy. The doctors can simultaneously apply three and sometimes four drugs (in children with prognostically unfavorable factors). Although induction is less intense in lymphoblastic leukemia than in myeloblastic leukemia, it still can cause certain side effects. Most of them are reversible. Upon therapy completion, the side effects will disappear over time.
Here are some standard symptoms, which can occur during the chemotherapy for any tumor:
- hair loss;
- delayed wound healing;
- decreased appetite;
The consequence of cancer treatment is always the inhibition of red bone marrow function. The following symptoms can be caused by the decreased number of blood cells:
- the decreased number of platelets causes blood-clotting disorder, so there may appear bruises on the skin, the slightest scratches can bleed for a long time, nosebleeds are possible, women can have long and heavy menstrual periods;
- the decreased number of erythrocytes results in anemia, blood transports oxygen poorly, skin becomes pale, heart rate increases, weakness and shortness of breath appear;
- the symptoms of the decreased leukocyte levels do not usually manifest themselves, but such changes in the blood can lead to the increased risk of infectious diseases.
All changes can be detected in the tests. If they occur, the patient may be prescribed maintenance therapy. The patient undergoes transfusion of blood or its components.
The following side effects are associated with the use of only a few chemotherapy options:
- dry eyes;
- impaired coordination;
- numbness in the arms or legs.
Anthracycline drugs are cardiotoxic. Some drugs negatively affect kidney and liver function. To avoid complications, the doctor carefully studies patient's medical history before the selection of a tumor therapy option, and he also performs diagnostics in dynamics. The tests may reveal kidney or liver lesions, while the doctor can timely detect functional impairment of the heart muscle using ECG.
Tumor lysis syndrome is a complication, which develops at the initial stage of induction, but only when the disease is detected at the advanced stages. Should the patient have a large number of tumor cells, the load on the excretory system of the body will sharply increase in case of their decay. The symptoms of intoxication occur. This affects kidneys, and therefore, electrolyte metabolism disorders may develop. Such patients require supportive medical care.
Occasionally, intensive and prolonged chemotherapy can lead to the formation of another type of cancer. It can be myeloid leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These neoplasms require surgical removal.
A child usually responds to the treatment better than an adult patient. In 95% of children, remission can be achieved within 1 month of induction chemotherapy. Many people manage to recover completely, but the duration of treatment is 2-3 years.
The relapses most often occur during maintenance therapy. They are less common within 12 months upon treatment completion. If a child does not have a relapse of the disease within 2 years upon treatment completion, he is very likely not to have it again in his life.
The adults have worse treatment outcomes. Although 60% of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia are children, 8 out of 10 deaths from this disease occur in adults. The prognosis worsens with age. The worst outcomes of oncology are noted after the age of 65 years.
According to the results of induction chemotherapy, the adults can achieve remission in 85% of cases, but this may require a longer and more intensive treatment. The problem of some patients is that they cannot undergo intensive chemotherapy due to the presence of concomitant somatic diseases. Due to this, the doses of the drugs can be reduced. Such treatment does not aim to cure pathology, but can only increase life expectancy, thereby delaying the onset of relapse.
Treatment in Germany with the Booking Health company
To undergo induction chemotherapy in Germany at an affordable cost, you can use the services of the Booking Health company. We will arrange your diagnostics and treatment abroad. You can undergo cancer treatment in Germany at the best Cancer Centers. We provide the following services and benefits:
- Selection of the best German hospital for cancer treatment. We will select the Cancer Center specializing in the diagnostics and chemotherapy of blood cancer.
- The cost of medical services will be reduced for you. The saving on the course reaches up to 50%. The cost reduction is associated with the absence of overpricing and additional coefficients, which are provided for foreign patients at the hospitals specializing in cancer treatment.
- Booking an appointment on the most suitable dates for you.
- Preparation of the program, taking into account previously performed examinations.
- Establishment of communication directly with the attending physician.
- Monitoring of the program at all its stages.
- Control of the cost of procedures and operations, return of unspent funds upon therapy course completion.
- Buying and forwarding of medicines.
- Organization of additional diagnostics, medical procedures, operations or rehabilitation.
- Communication with the hospital upon treatment completion in Germany.
The reviews about the Booking Health company are mostly positive. The patients are satisfied with our services because we take care of all the organizational issues. We will provide translation of a medical history and other medical documentation, preparation of documents, booking of hotel and airline tickets, transfer from the airport. Surely, your feedback about the Booking Health services will also be positive after treatment completion. Thanks to our work, you can undergo the best treatment at a reduced cost.