When the body’s blood forming tissues along with the bone marrow and the lymphatic system gets affected by an abnormal growth of cells, then the condition is referred to as leukemia. The white blood cells normally divide in our body as per need, but in leukemia abnormal white blood cells are produced that don’t function in a proper manner. Leukemia symptoms normally go undetected by the patients as they are similar to the symptoms of fever and other common illness. Children and teens are often diagnosed with leukemia as it happens to be a common type of cancer in children.
Depending on the speed of its progress and the types of cells involved, leukemia can be categorized in different forms.
On the basis of progression leukemia can be classified into:
- Acute Leukemia – In this condition, the abnormal blood cells are generally considered to be immature ones which are unable to function normally. Their multiply rapidly, making the condition of the patient worse and needs immediate and timely treatment.
- Chronic Leukemia – This leukemia comprises various types, the common ones being where too many or too less cells are produced. This type of leukemia generally involves mature cells and they function normally for a certain span. Thus, they can go undetected for years.
On the basis of the type of white blood cells getting affected, leukemia can be of the following kind:
- Lymphocytic leukemia- In this condition, the lymphocytes responsible for forming the lymphatic tissues which builds our immune system, gets affected.
- Myelogenous leukemia- The myeloid cells that help in the formation of the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets gets affected in this condition.
Depending on the age of the patient along with his/her health condition, the treatment for leukemia will differ. The common methods of treatment include:
- Chemotherapy – Depending on the type of leukemia, a patient may be given chemotherapy constituted of a single drug or a combination of drugs. It can either be injected into the blood or taken orally which helps in destroying the cancer cells in the body.
- Immunotherapy – Also termed as biological therapy, medications are given that help in boosting the immune system which will fight the leukemia cells.
- Targeted Therapy – This therapy helps in attacking certain kinds of vulnerabilities within the malignant cells which helps in controlling the growth of malignant cells.
- Radiation Therapy -High energy beams are used to destroy and prevent the growth of the cancerous cells. Radiation therapy can be given either at a specific location in the body or over the whole body depending upon the condition of the patient.
- Stem Cell Transplant -High doses of chemo or radiation therapy is given to destroy the diseased bone marrow that helps in the replacement of it with a healthy bone marrow in the process of stem cell transplant.
- Surgical methods include splenectomy where the doctor removes the spleen filled with abnormal cells and affects the surrounding organs.
Leukemia patients are treated by a hematologist-oncologist. A lot depends upon the type and the stage of cancer which facilitates the prognosis. Leukemia which progress slowly may not need immediate and serious therapeutic help but can be treated with medications also. In case, the stage is advanced necessary steps should be taken.
The following factors should be taken into consideration by a leukemia patient:
- People, who have undergone chemo or radiation therapy while being treated for other cancer, are prone to developing certain kinds of leukemia.
- Genetic disorders like Down syndrome often initiate different kinds of leukemia.
- Exposure to chemicals like benzene increases the patient’s chance to get affected by leukemia.
The sooner leukemia gets diagnosed, the better the chances of prognosis. Recovery also depends upon the stage and type of the cancer in the patient. Factors which might raise complexities during the treatment are problems of blood disorders, chromosome mutations, old age and such others. According to findings, the five year survival rate of leukemia patients in India after receiving the treatment is around 60%. Though the death rates have fallen and there surfaces a significant change in the treatment procedures which helps people to combat with Leukemia in an efficient manner. India is known for its effective treatment rendered at a budget friendly cost. The cost varies from hospital to hospital and the chemotherapy cycles along with some medications and some diagnostic tests amounts to on an average of $20000. Treatment cost might also vary from person to person as treatment would be different according to the type leukemia. The cost might vary from $15000 to $25000. In some of the government hospitals the incurred cost could be as low as $5000. Thus many international patients chose India for their treatment as western countries incur comparatively higher costs for cancer treatments.
India has a wide network of specialized medical units providing necessary treatment to cancer patients. With advanced means of technology and treatment facilities, some of the major hospitals dealing with leukemia are:
- Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai
- Medanta-The Medicity, Gurgaon
- American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad
- Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Delhi
- BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi
Some of the experienced doctors in the field of leukemia noted for their successful treatment to patients are:
- Vinod Raina (Fortis Memorial Research Institute,Gurgaon)
- Ashpk Vaid (Medanta-The Medicity, Gurgaon)
- Rajesh Mistry (Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai)
- Dharma R Choudhary (BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi)
- Satish Rao ( Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai)
A woman from Algeria writes about her daughter’s experience with leukemia and how the treatment was made successful in India:
“My 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. I knew that in my country treatment would not have been that advanced. Thus, I opted for India for her treatment. I took help from Medicure Assist in the due course and they briefed me about the available treatment options. They also recommended some major hospitals and gave a fair outline of the estimated cost that would be needed for the treatment. On reaching India, the team assisted me on getting an appointment with the pediatric oncologist who after studying my child’s condition recommended chemotherapy and some targeted medicines. The doctor also told me about the possible side effects. Gradually, my daughter’s health improved and the treatment went on for 3 months. Throughout the span, MedTour2India helped me a lot. With their aid, I got in touch with a child care specialist also who designed a nutrition chart for other and other healthy activities she could indulge in. I am extremely grateful to the doctor for helping in my child’s recovery and also to MedTour2India for their constant guidance. My stay in India was made easier by their significant contribution.”
A patient from Kuwait narrates his story about battling with leukemia:
“I had been suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder which makes one more prone to acute myeloid leukemia. My prognosis thus was a difficult one and would incur a heavy cost. Since I had knowledge about the successful treatment offered to cancer patients in India at a reasonable cost, I also chose to get my treatment done here. The proceedings were initiated with the help of MedTour2India who recommended me to visit Apollo Cancer Institute where they even got my appointment scheduled with a hematologist. The doctor briefed me about the treatment I would undergo in details and assured me complete recovery. I underwent both chemotherapy and radiation therapy and did face health issues because of the existing blood disorder. Constant medications were prescribed to ease my situation. MedTour2India who kept in constant touch with me enquiring of my progress, helped me with the conveyance and the medications. Their effortless help is really appreciable. My health has improved a lot now, though I have been advised to intake targeted medicines and keep undergoing checkups. My doctor was very cooperative and always attended to my needs. Also, without the assistance and support of MedTour2India, I would have never been able to cope with my health situation.”