The most important questions and answers about leukemia at a glance

On this portal you will find a list of the most important questions and answerson the subject of leukemia.

We, a team of doctors and patients, are constantly asking more questions and answers.

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Which four major types of leukemia are there?

Meanwhile, leukemia is usually used as a generic term for a variety of diseases that are associated with a (malignant) disorder of blood formation. In the narrower sense, however, one differentiates between four types of leukemia.

Read more: Which four major types of leukemia are there?

   

What is splenomegaly?

With splenomegaly, doctors refer to an enlarged spleen. This is a common finding, especially in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), at least in the active disease phases. Because the spleen is also capable of producing blood, it takes over the production of blood cells in such phases during CML. And because she has so much more to do than usual, she gets bigger.

Read more: What is splenomegaly?

   

Why is the size of the spleen so important in chronic myeloid leukemia?

Because the size of the spleen says a lot about the disease activity. If the spleen is greatly enlarged, this indicates a very active phase of leukemia. On the other hand, if it gets smaller again, leukemia is very likely well under control.

Read more: Why is the size of the spleen so important in chronic myeloid leukemia?

   

CML: How long do you have to take Imatinib (Glivec)?

Usually lifelong. Because the treatment with imatinib (trade name: Eqivec®) serves the purpose of suppressing relapse of the disease as long as possible. But this only succeeds as long as you take the medication.

Read more: CML: How long do you have to take Imatinib (Glivec)?

   

Which drug is the first choice for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)?

As of today (2014) Imatinib. The drug is called Glivec® distributed. In contrast to classical chemotherapy for leukemia, imatinib is a drug that is very specific for leukemia cells. As a result, hardly any healthy body cells are damaged, as is the case with conventional chemotherapy. This means less side effects.

Read more: Which drug is the first choice for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)?

   

Why do you have to go to the isolation ward during a bone marrow transplant?

To protect yourself from serious infections. Because the body's defense is set by the bone marrow transplantation upstream chemo and whole body irradiation practically checkmated. In the days before and after stem cell transplantation, any flying germ is extremely dangerous.

Read more: Why do you have to go to the isolation ward during a bone marrow transplant?

   

What side effects does bone marrow transplantation have?

The most significant side effect of bone marrow transplantation (or stem cell transplantation) is the greatly reduced immune defense. This is not due to the introduction of new stem cells, but the previous, high-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This is imperative to this treatment, because first all old leukemia cells must be destroyed, so that the transplanted blood stem cells can take the scepter in the hand. But just this previous treatment, the body's defense for a certain time to a minimum.

Read more: What are the side effects of bone marrow transplantation?

   

Child with leukemia: Are there alternative or natural treatments?

A small but growing number of clinics also offer alternative methods for leukemia. Mind you in addition, not as a substitute for conventional medical treatment. It is mostly about a supportive or mitigating the side effects of standard therapy effect.

Read more: Child with leukemia: Are there any alternative or natural treatment methods?

   

What is the risk of relapse for children after completing leukemia treatment?

Unfortunately, this is not the answer. There are no generally valid numbers for the relapse rate, mainly because there are so many different types of leukemia.

Read more: What is the risk of relapse for children after completing a leukemia treatment?

   

What are the chances of finding a suitable donor for a bone marrow transplant?

In recent years, the situation has improved significantly.Most of all thanks to an increasing number of people who agree to make a donation and whose data are stored in one of the bone marrow donor registries. In about 70% of cases, the search for a suitable donor is successful today.

Read more: What are the chances of finding a suitable donor for a bone marrow transplant?

   

What are the most common side effects of chemotherapy?

All in all, the side effects of chemotherapy can hardly be predicted, because it depends on the particular medication and its dose and also works differently for everyone. But the bottom line is that nausea, vomiting and hair loss are most common.

Read more: What are the most common side effects of chemotherapy?

   

How can you protect yourself against infections with chemotherapy?

During chemotherapy, the risk of infectious diseases of all kinds is significantly increased. And they are often much more serious because the body can not defend itself so well at this stage. Therefore, the top priority is to minimize the risk of infection as far as possible and immediately to the doctor at the slightest hint of a serious infection.

Read more: How to Protect Against Infections with Chemotherapy?

   

What type of leukemia medication is alemtuzumab (MabCampath®)?

Alemtuzumab (MabCampath®) is a so-called monoclonal antibody. It is produced by genetic engineering. It targets a specific surface protein on degenerated lymphoid cells and is approved for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Read more: What is a leukemia medication Alemtuzumab (MabCampath®)?

   

How is a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treated?

Frequently, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) does not need to be treated for many years. Only a regular blood count control is necessary. This is due to the fact that the disease often progresses only very slowly and causes little discomfort.

Read more: How is a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treated?

   

When to talk about healing in acute leukemia (ALL or AML)

If one does not relapse with acute leukemia after completion of the so-called induction chemotherapy for five years, one is considered cured. This applies to both acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Read more: When does one speak of healing in acute leukemia (ALL or AML)?

   

What does remission mean in leukemia treatment?

With remission the doctors refer to the successful repression of cancer cells. The term is not only used in leukemia, but also in other cancers.

Read more: What does remission mean in leukemia treatment?

   

Does the bone marrow biopsy hurt?

No, usually not, because the examination is done under local anesthesia. Of course, only the anesthetic syringe pokes a bit, after which the examination is usually painless.

Read more: Does the bone marrow biopsy hurt?

   

What types of white blood cells are there?

Essentially, white blood cells (medical: leukocytes) are divided into three groups: granulocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes.

Read more: What types of white blood cells are there?

   

Leukemia: New hope for vitamin A acid

A drug previously only effective in a single form of leukemia could soon become applicable to other types of leukemia. This report British scientists in the renowned journal Nature.

Read more: Leukemia: New hope for vitamin A acidity

   

Which is the most common type of leukemia in children?

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Overall, ALL is the most common type of cancer among children.

Read more: What is the most common type of leukemia in children?

   

What is leukapheresis?

Leukapheresis is a special procedure for "removing" white blood cells (leukocytes) from the blood. In principle, it is a kind of blood wash, in which the body blood is tapped and passed through a filter system.

Read more: What is leukapheresis?

   

Where does one take the tissue from the donor during a bone marrow donation?

There are two possibilities. Either the bone marrow tissue is taken directly from the bone. More specifically, from the iliac crest. This happens under anesthesia, so it is a real surgical procedure for the donor.

Read more: Where do you extract the tissue from the donor during a bone marrow donation?

   

What is the difference between autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation?

One speaks of autologous stem cell transplantation, if the stem cells come from one, for example, were previously removed and preserved. In allogeneic stem cell transplantation, however, the cells are derived from a donor, ie another person.

Read more: What is the difference between autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation?

   

Is it true that you can cure a leukemia with a stem cell transplant?

Yes. This treatment method offers at least the best chances. If, after high-dose chemotherapy, all leukemia cells have actually been killed and new blood cells are formed with the transplanted stem cells, the leukemia is permanently cured.

Read more: Is it true that you can cure a leukemia with a stem cell transplant?

   

Is it possible to cure leukemia (CML) with imatinib?

That is currently (as of spring 2011) still unclear. So far, there is a lack of long-term studies that allow an accurate assessment of whether imatinib may even completely cure chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Read more: Is it possible to cure leukemia (CML) with imatinib?

   

How does the Philadelphia chromosome promote the development of leukemia?

The Philadelphia chromosome is an acquired (not innate) gene mutation. A piece of chromosome 22 lies on chromosome 9 and vice versa.

Read more: In what ways does the Philadelphia chromosome promote the development of leukemia?

   

What treatment offers CML opportunities for permanent healing?

High-dose chemotherapy (possibly supplemented with whole body irradiation) and subsequent transplantation of blood stem cells. Unfortunately, this treatment only comes into consideration for about 15% of those affected.

Read more: What treatment offers CML opportunities for permanent healing?

   

When is Imatinib (Glivec®) considered for the treatment of ALL?

Imatinib (trade name Glivec®) is a so-called signal transduction inhibitor. This relatively new drug specifically inhibits the growth of leukemia cells.

Read more: When is Imatinib (Glivec®) considered for the treatment of ALL?

   

How long will the chemotherapy be continued in AML?

Usually at least one to one and a half years. For newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML), treatment is started with one or two cycles of high dose chemotherapy. This introductory treatment is also called induction chemotherapy.

Read more: How long will the chemotherapy be continued in AML?

   

What is meant by induction chemotherapy in AML?

The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) usually begins with one or two cycles of high-dose chemotherapy. This introductory treatment, which acutely restricts the leukemia cells, is also called induction chemotherapy.

Read more: What is meant by induction chemotherapy in AML?

   

What is the number of white blood cells in chronic leukemia?

In general, significantly increased. CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukemia) can reach levels of 200,000 to 500,000 per microliter (μl).

Read more: What is the number of white blood cells in chronic leukemia?

   

What kind of symptoms causes acute leukemia at the beginning?

A leukemia can cause a whole host of different symptoms and complaints at the beginning. Typical of acute leukemias is a relatively sudden onset of strong feeling of being out of complete health. By contrast, the symptoms of chronic forms of leukemia are rather insidious.

Read more: What symptoms causes acute leukemia at the beginning?

   

What kind of symptoms causes chronic leukemia at the beginning?

Chronic leukemia usually begins insidiously and often goes unnoticed for a long time. Not infrequently, it is discovered during a routine examination. Although it usually goes along with complaints at the beginning; but these are so uncharacteristic that they are not considered as leukemia sign.

Read more: What symptoms causes chronic leukemia at the beginning?

   

Is the risk of leukemia inherited?

No, at least not in the classical sense. There have been cases in which leukemia has been more frequent in certain families due to genetic defects, but leukemia is not a typical hereditary disease.

Read more: Is the risk of leukemia inherited?

   

What does the "Philadelphia chromosome" mean in leukemia?

In patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, 90% of cases show a specific chromosomal change. A piece of chromosome 22 lies on chromosome 9 and vice versa.

Read more: What does the "Philadelphia chromosome" mean in leukemia?

   

Are there medicines that increase the risk of leukemia?

Yes, especially certain drugs in the chemotherapy of cancer can increase the long-term risk of leukemia. This is especially true for so-called alkylating agents.

Read more: Are there medicines that increase the risk of leukemia?

   

How to prevent leukemia

This is only possible to a very limited extent, since in most cases of leukemia, it remains completely unclear why and why they originated. Unlike e.g. In lung cancer, there are no known everyday risk factors that can be avoided.

Read more: How to prevent leukemia?

   

Does radioactivity increase leukemia risk?

Yes, at least at high doses of radioactive radiation an increased leukemia risk has been demonstrated. Thus, in the vicinity of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after the atomic bombings of 1945, there was a considerable increase in cases of leukemia, especially acute leukemia.

Read more: Does radioactivity increase the leukemia risk?