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You will face many hard decisions if a loved one or you have been diagnosed with leukemia. Including several questions like where should you go for treatment? What are the available treatment options? How to maintain your quality of life? We have tried to describe these concerns, the types, and possible treatment, which will help you decide.

What Is Leukemia?

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Leukemia or blood cancer develops due to the abnormal growth of blood-forming tissues, bone marrow, and the lymphatic system. Some types of leukemia are more common in children, while others occur mostly in adults. Leukemia often affects the white blood cells, and the abnormal white blood cells do not function like normal WBC. Leukemia is also the most common type of cancer seen in children under 15 years of age.

What Are the Types of Leukemia?

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  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) - The most common childhood cancer, but also affects adults.
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) - TThe most common type of acute leukemia affects both children and adults.
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) - The most common chronic leukemia seen in adults.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) - Mostly affects grown-ups.
  • Hairy Cell Leukemia - A rare and chronic leukemia that affects the B cells (lymphocytes).
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes - A group of conditions that are caused by the bone marrow producing immature blood cells.

Acute leukemia spreads and worsens quickly and requires aggressive treatment. Chronic leukemia progresses very slowly and goes undiagnosed for years.

What Are the Treatment Options for Leukemia?

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The recommended treatment options for leukemia are targeted therapy, chemotherapy, CAR T cell therapy, other immunotherapy, bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The personalized treatment plan will depend on which blood cancer the patient has. All cancer patients at MSK are offered compassionate and personalized care from their experts. Specialists experienced in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, rehabilitation, and maintaining the quality of life will work closely to develop a customized treatment plan to ensure the best outcome possible. Patients also benefit from new chemotherapy drugs through thousands of ongoing clinical trials at MSK. MSK leukemia experts use various tests to diagnose leukemia. Tests also show changes in the bone marrow or genetic makeup of the cancer cells. MSK's hematologists identify abnormal genes in each leukemia patient to know the drugs that will be most effective.