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Cancer Care

Making the Decision to Have Chemotherapy for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Deciding On Chemotherapy for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It's a type of systemic treatment, which means the drugs travel throughout your body in your bloodstream. Chemotherapy works by disrupting cancer cell growth, preventing cell reproduction, and causing your cancer cells to die. The goal of chemotherapy is to kill enough leukemia cells to put the disease into remission and keep it there. Remission is when the signs and symptoms of cancer respond to treatment, either partially or totally. 

Chemotherapy is the first choice of treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) because it reaches leukemia cells nearly anywhere in the body. The typical treatment for ALL involves 3 phases of chemotherapy given over about 2 years. High-dose chemotherapy is also part of a stem cell transplant, which may be used if standard doses of chemotherapy aren't effective.