Coping With Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

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This fact sheet provides patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia strategies for coping, treatment options, and more.
This fact sheet provides patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia strategies for coping, treatment options, and more.

A diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) can leave you and your loved ones feeling uncertain, anxious and overwhelmed. There are important treatment decisions to make, emotional concerns to manage, and insurance and financial paperwork to organize, among other practical concerns.

It is helpful to keep in mind that there are many sources of information and support for people coping with ALL. By learning about this diagnosis and its treatment options, communicating with your health care team, and surrounding yourself with a support network, you will be better able to manage your ALL and experience a better quality of life.

Understanding Your Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) occurs when a type of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, begins to change and grow uncontrollably. These abnormal cells crowd out other types of blood cells in the bone marrow, which are responsible for making blood clot. As a result, people with acute lymphocytic leukemia may experience anemia, are more prone to developing infections, and bruise or bleed easily.

People with ALL usually need immediate treatment, which can include chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy and transplantation. Treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia is highly effective: 90 percent of children and 75-80 percent of adults will achieve a complete remission (when blood counts have returned to normal and the leukemia cannot be seen under a microscope). Ask your health care team to recommend reliable publications and websites to learn more about your treatment options. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more in control.

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