Usually acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) treatment is given in three phases: induction, consolidation/intensification, and maintenance. In addition to these three phases, preventive treatment to the central nervous system (CNS prophylaxis) often begins in the induction phase and continues to the end of ALL treatment. The long-term use of chemotherapy is the primary treatment for ALL.
In this first phase of chemotherapy, an intensive course of drugs is given to kill as many of the leukemic cells as possible to put the disease into remission. Typically this phase lasts for about a month and requires that you stay in the hospital.
This phase starts once the disease goes into remission, and it consists of shorter repetitive courses of chemotherapy. The goal is to destroy any remaining leukemia cells that have the potential to grow and cause a recurrence.
This last phase of therapy consists of lower doses of several chemotherapy drugs and usually lasts for about two years. Most of the maintenance drugs are taken by mouth. Regular visits to the clinic are still required.