Immediate Treatment for Childhood Leukemia

Some children with leukemia are critically ill when they are first diagnosed with leukemia. For example:

  • A shortage of normal white blood cells might lead to very serious infections.
  • Low levels of platelets or clotting factors in the blood can cause severe bleeding.
  • Not having enough red blood cells can lower the amount of oxygen getting to body tissues and put a tremendous strain on the heart.

These problems must often be addressed before treatment of the leukemia can begin. Antibiotics, blood growth factors, and transfusions of platelets and red blood cells may be given to treat or help prevent some of these conditions.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: April 17, 2015 Last Revised: February 3, 2016

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