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What is the treatment for myeloid leukaemia?

Q: My 21 years old sister has been diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia. Her lymphoblast (l-blast) was 35,000 and haemoglobin was 7.8. Is it curable? If yes, where the best treatment can be given? What could be the total cost of the treatment? Is there any stage of this leukaemia when the there is no treatment possible or every stage of this cancer can be treated?

A:Leukaemias may be acute or chronic and lymphoid or myeloid (non-lymphoid). Acute leukaemia’s are characterised by the presence of immature cells (blasts) in the blood &/or bone marrow. The treatment depends on the subtype and several other factors and is usually offered to all patients (even if only for palliation). The prognosis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) depends on the age of the patient, sub-type of leukaemia, presence/absence of antecedent hematologic disorder, previous history of chemotherapy, involvement of other tissues/organs, cytogenetic analysis (good-risk, intermediate-risk and high-risk) and molecular studies. With the current available treatment about 35% of patients survive longer that 5 years (considered to be cured). There are many good centres in the country, which offer standard therapy including Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai, CMC Vellore, AIIMS Delhi, PGI Chandigarh etc. You need to go to a hospital with a department of Oncology or Clinical Haematology, which has experience in treating such patients as the outcome may often be governed by the type of care given and facilities available. The cost may range from a few lakhs, upto 8-10 lakhs depending on the type of treatment and hospital. You may contact the social worker at the hospital to find out about financial help available at that particular institute, as Govt. of India has no such scheme.


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