As a parent, the last thing you want to hear about your child is that they have a serious illness like cancer. However, if your child has been weak, fatigued, and having trouble with easy and excessive bruising and bleeding, you may come to find that they are suffering from a form of cancer known as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL for short). If this is the case, you may wonder what you can do to help them get their cancer treated and get back to being a regular kid. Get to know some of these treatment options so you can support and help your child through the process.
Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia. This is a treatment of cancer that involves a combination of medications that are designed to target cells in the body that reproduce rapidly (which is true of cancer cells).
For leukemia, the chemotherapy is administered as an infusion treatment, meaning through an IV. There are several cycles or rounds of chemotherapy treatment that your child will have to get rid of their ALL. These different rounds all involve different doses and combinations of medications depending on how your child's body reacts to the previous rounds.
In between each chemotherapy cycle and even during the cycles, your child's medical team will take blood draws and assess their overall well-being during the chemo cycle. This will help determine the makeup of the next cycle.
Bone Marrow Transplants
After your child receives chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy (a form of treatment that uses x-rays to target and destroy cancer cells), they may also need a bone marrow transplant (also known as a stem cell transplant). This is done when your child's leukemia was also in their bone marrow and the cancerous bone marrow has been destroyed.
To keep your child healthy and ensure that their body can produce healthy blood cells, bone marrow can be transplanted into their body. However, doctors do generally want patients to be cancer-free before using this option as it is replacing the unhealthy cells with healthy ones. Performing a bone marrow transplant while the patient still has ALL cells in their blood and bone marrow can cause the implanted healthy cells to be taken over by cancerous ones, canceling out the treatment.
Clinical Trial Options
If your child goes through the standard treatments but either still has cancer cells or has cancer recur, there are also clinical trial options available for new and innovative treatments. One such new treatment is still in the early stages of the clinical trial process. This is known as the CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell immunotherapy treatment.
CAR T-cell immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment in which the doctors would take blood from your child to collect their T-cells. These T-cells would then be engineered in the lab to contain chimeric antigen receptors that would allow them to detect and target the specific cell types and proteins in your child's cancerous cells.
These engineered T-cells would then need to reproduce in the lab environment to have enough to be effective. The cells would then be implanted back into your child's body to attack and destroy those cancerous cells. This and other future clinical trials can give you hope that even when standard treatments are not enough, there are other options out there.
Now that you know more about treating your child's ALL, you can be sure that you are able to provide your child with the best support and care possible as they go through the treatment process. For more information, consider contacting treatment centers like SAH GLOBAL.