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How Your Doctor Decides on Your Treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Researchers continue to find new treatment methods for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). People with this cancer now have more hope for survival than ever before.

The choices that you have for treatment depend on these things:

  • Results of your lab tests

  • Your health status

  • Your age

  • Your personal needs or special considerations

  • Your subtype of AML

These are the phases of treatment:

Remission induction. The goal of this treatment is to kill as many leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow as possible. This usually puts the leukemia into remission, which means you don't have signs or symptoms of the cancer. For it, you usually get chemotherapy.

Consolidation (postremission) therapy. The goal of this treatment is to kill any remaining leukemia cells and keep you in remission. Younger patients typically get more intensive chemotherapy for several cycles or a stem cell transplant. Older patients may get slightly less intensive treatment.

Maintenance therapy. Longer term maintenance chemotherapy is not part of the standard regimen for most types of AML, but the treatment for people with the acute promyelocytic leukemia (M3) subtype is different. These patients get other drugs along with chemotherapy during the first two phases. They may also get further, less intensive treatment for at least a year afterward.


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