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Stages of Leukemia Treatment

There are various stages in the treatment of leukemia, including the following:

  • Induction - a combination of chemotherapy and/or radiation and medications given to stop the process of abnormal cells being made in the bone marrow. Remission is the goal in this stage of treatment. Remission means the leukemia cells are no longer being made. This phase may last approximately one month and can be repeated if the goal is not achieved.
  • Intensification - continued treatment even though leukemia cells may not be visible. The leukemia cells may not be visible in a blood test or bone marrow examination, but it is possible that the cells are still present in the body.
  • Maintenance - the stage that maintains leukemia-free bone marrow by continuing less intense chemotherapy for a longer duration. This phase can last months to several years. Regular visits to your child's physician are required in order to determine response to treatment, detect any recurrent disease, and manage any side effects of the treatment.
  • Relapse - may occur even with aggressive therapy. Relapse is when the bone marrow begins making abnormal cells again. Relapse can occur during any of the stages of treatment, or may occur months or years after treatment has ended.

What is the long-term outlook for a child with leukemia?

Last Update
February 17, 2014
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Last Update
February 17, 2014