- How is acute myeloid leukemia treated?
- Chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia
- Other drugs for acute myeloid leukemia
- Surgery for acute myeloid leukemia
- Radiation therapy for acute myeloid leukemia
- Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia
- Clinical trials for acute myeloid leukemia
- Complementary and alternative therapies for acute myeloid leukemia
- What if the acute myeloid leukemia doesn`t respond or comes back after treatment?
Radiation therapy for acute myeloid leukemia
Radiation treatment is the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. It is not often part of the main treatment for people with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). There are a few times in which radiation may be used to help treat leukemia:
- It is sometimes used to treat leukemia that has spread to the brain and spinal fluid or to the testicles.
- Radiation to the whole body is often an important part of treatment before a stem cell transplant.
- It is used (rarely) to help shrink a tumor if it is pressing on the windpipe and causing breathing problems. But chemo is often used instead since it may work more quickly.
- Radiation can also be used to reduce pain in a bone that has leukemia in it, if chemo hasn't helped.
The possible side effects of radiation depend on where the radiation is aimed. Sunburn-like skin changes in the treated area can happen. Radiation to the belly (abdomen) can sometimes cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. For radiation that includes large parts of the body, the effects may include tiredness and an increased risk of infection.
Last Medical Review: 03/28/2012
Last Revised: 01/24/2013