Leukemia Treatment and
is a kind of blood or a bone marrow cancer. An abnormal increase in the white blood cells causes leukemia.
However leukemia is a diverse term and covers a wide range of diseases.
For those who are affected
with leukemia, the best suggested treatment is radiation
therapy. This treatment is also known as radiotherapy. This treatment uses high energy X-rays to combat
malignancy in blood cells. These rays are made to enter body to destroy the cancer cells. For those affected with leukemia,
radiation therapy is done alone or in combination with other types of treatment like
For a person who has
contracted leukemia, radiation therapy can be given internally
the radiation is given with the help of a machine that remains outside the body, it is called as
external radiation. This machine radiates high energy x-rays that destroy the cancer
the radiation reaches inside the body with the help of wires, seeds, catheters and needles it is called
The type of cancer decides
whether the person needs an external radiation or an internal radiation.
External Radiation Therapy for Leukemia
It is a fast and
painless procedure that lasts for merely few minutes.
In contrast to
chemotherapy, that influences whole body, external radiation therapy is focused over specific
By intending tumors
with high doses of strong radiation, external radiation therapy helps in minimizing damage to healthy
Radiation therapy for leukemia patients is
given in two different ways. In some cases, the doctor directs the radiation over specific area where there is a
leukemia cells have got collected like testicles or spleen. In other leukemia cases, patients may be given
radiation over the whole body. This way of radiation therapy is known as ‘total-body irradiation’ and is given
prior to bone marrow transplant.
Following are some of the instances where
therapy is used:
It is used for treating leukemia when it has propagated to spinal fluid, brain or to the
Whole body is subjected to radiation before peripheral blood stem cell transplant.
Radiation therapy is also advised when there is need to shrink the size of a tumor. This condition
arises when large sized tumor starts interfering with smooth functioning of trachea (wind pipe) and
starts causing problem in breathing. In such case, often radiation therapy is used along with
Radiation therapy is also used to diminish pain in that part of bone that has been severely affected by
leukemia. This happens when chemotherapy fails to render desired results.
Side effects of Leukemia Radiation
These are the common side
effects that a person can experience during the time of the treatment. These issues cease once the therapy is
over. They are
Reduction in the
blood count which might increase the chances of bleeding or infection
Exhausted or low
redness in the area that is exposed to the radiation. That area would appear to be sun burnt.