Chemotherapy is the main modality of treatment of blood cancer. Chemotherapy consists of medicines which kill cancer cells and stop them from growing.
Bone marrow transplant -Apart from chemotherapy, for high risk cancers bone marrow or stem cell transplant is also done. In this all cells in the abnormal bone marrow cells of blood cancer patients are killed by chemotherapy and bone marrow cells of healthy donor are infused which replaces the patient blood components.
Supportive care – Since leukemia is a disease of blood cells and treatment is also strong to kill abnormal blood cells of patients, this results in fall of all three components of blood cells. It takes time for the new blood cells to start forming again, so during this period of low blood cells patient suffers from infections, bleeding and fall in haemoglobin. So white blood cells, platelets and haemoglobin requires to infused repeatedly from outside to save the life of leukemia patient.
So, following things are must for all blood cancer patients: –
- They should be treated in a qualified cancer centre with robust blood bank facilities especially platelets concentrates (white blood) and apheresis machine.
- Adequate number of blood donors should be available among family members at a short notice as life can be lost due to bleeding if platelets not infused immediately.
- Due to abnormal WBC and chemotherapy induced fall in immunity, all family members have to contribute to take precautions to prevent infections in leukemia patients.
Good thing about blood cancers is that they are curable in large no of patients (except myeloma which is incurable) if detected early and treated in good centre with cure rates of is 50-60%. Patient can have a normal healthy life after cure of blood cancer. Treatment of blood not only requires a good doctor but support of all family members and friends because treatment is of long duration.
Two important points to understand about blood cancers are-
- Early and Proper diagnosis is important to save life
- It is equally important to give exact treatment as per risk factor, so side effects of treatment are low as cured patients live very long and we do not want them to live with side effects of treatment.