Standard treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplantation, all of which are provided at Seattle Children’s, a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance parent organization.
Most children with cancer are treated on clinical studies. Researchers are studying the use of bone marrow (hematopoietic stem cell) transplants in children with very high-risk and recurrent ALL, as well as new combinations of chemotherapy drugs. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Seattle Children’s participate in many research trials investigating new drugs and bone marrow transplants.
More than 85 percent of children with ALL survive at least five years after their cancer is diagnosed, and many live much longer. The cure rate for ALL ranges from about 60 percent to 95 percent depending on factors such as the type of the leukemia, the extent at the time of diagnosis, and the child’s age.
As doctors find more successful treatments through clinical trials, the prognosis for children with leukemia will continue to improve.
If your child has leukemia, your child’s doctors will recommend a combination of therapies. These can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplantation.
If your child’s leukemia has spread or may spread to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), or to the testicles, your child’s doctors may recommend treating it with radiation therapy to that area, in addition to chemotherapy.
Researchers are working to find more effective treatments for children with leukemia. Through clinical trials, they are investigating new chemotherapy combinations as well as stem cell transplants for children with ALL.
Many families consider using complementary and integrative medicine as part of a child’s care during cancer treatment. Your first step if you are using or thinking of using complementary medicine is to talk with your child’s doctor.