- How is childhood leukemia treated?
- Immediate treatment of childhood leukemia
- Surgery for childhood leukemia
- Radiation treatment for childhood leukemia
- Chemotherapy for childhood leukemia
- Targeted therapy for childhood leukemia
- High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant for childhood leukemia
- Treatment of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Treatment of children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- Treatment of children with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)
- Treatment of children with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)
- Treatment of children with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
- Clinical trials for childhood leukemia
- Complementary and alternative therapies for childhood leukemia
How is childhood leukemia treated?
Children and teens with leukemia and their families have special needs. These needs can be met best by cancer centers for children and teens, working closely with the child’s primary care doctor. These centers offer the advantage of being treated by teams of specialists who know the differences between cancers in adults and those in children and teens, as well as the special needs of younger people with cancer.
For childhood leukemias, this team is often led by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who treats children’s cancers. Many other doctors, nurses, and other specialists might be involved in your child’s care as well.
Going through cancer treatment with a child often means meeting lots of specialists and learning about parts of the medical system you probably haven’t had contact with before. You can find out more about this in Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Understanding the Health Care System.
Your child’s cancer care team will talk to you about treatment options. The most important factor in choosing a treatment is the type of leukemia, although other factors also play a role.
The main treatment for childhood leukemia is chemotherapy (chemo). Sometimes this is given along with a stem cell transplant. Other treatments such as targeted drugs, surgery, and radiation treatment may be used in some cases.
Be sure to ask your cancer care team about any side effects your child might have from treatment. They can tell you about common side effects, how long they might last, and how serious they might be.
Be sure to tell your child’s doctor about any drugs, herbal remedies, or other things you might be giving your child. These could affect how well the treatment works.
For more on how a specific type of childhood leukemia is treated, see the following sections:
Last Medical Review: 05/13/2015
Last Revised: 05/13/2015