Chemotherapy for childhood leukemia
Chemotherapy drugs used for childhood leukemia @(Model.HeadingTag)>
If childhood leukemia does not respond to drugs used in earlier treatments or if it comes back, some of the drugs used in the original treatment may be repeated. Sometimes the doses of the drugs are increased.
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Side effects can happen with any type of treatment for childhood leukemia, but every child’s experience is different. Some children have many side effects. Other children have only a few side effects.
Chemotherapy may cause side effects because it can damage healthy cells as it kills cancer cells. Side effects can happen at any time during, immediately after or a few days or weeks after chemotherapy. Sometimes late side effects develop months or years after chemotherapy. Most side effects go away on their own or can be treated, but some side effects may last a long time or become permanent.
It is hard to say exactly which side effects a child will have, how long they will last and when the child will recover. A child’s body seems to handle chemotherapy better than an adult’s body. Children usually have less severe side effects and will often recover from them faster than adults.
Side effects of chemotherapy will depend mainly on the type of drug, the dose, how it’s given and your child’s overall health. Some common side effects of chemotherapy drugs used for childhood leukemia are:
- low blood cell counts
- sore mouth and throat
- loss of appetite
- taste changes
- nausea and vomiting
- hair loss
- nervous system damage
- weight loss
- skin problems
- muscle and joint pain
- heart problems
- female reproductive system problems
- male reproductive system problems
Other side effects can develop months or years after treatment for childhood leukemia. Find out more about late effects for childhood leukemia.
Tell your child’s healthcare team if your child has these side effects or others you think might be from chemotherapy. The sooner you tell them of any problems, the sooner they can suggest ways to help your child deal with them.
American Cancer Society. Treating Childhood Leukemia. 2016: https://www.cancer.org.
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Montoya, L . Myeloid diseases. Baggott C, Fochtman D, Foley GV & Patterson Kelly, K (eds.). Nursing Care of Children and Adolsecents with Cancer and Blood Disorders. 4th ed. APHON; 2011: 26: pp.967-986.
National Cancer Institute. Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia/Other Myeloid Malignancies Treatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2018.
Weinblatt ME. Medscape Reference: Pediatric Acute Myelocytic Leukemia Treatment and Management. 2017: http://emedicine.medscape.com/.