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hi, i have an aunt who has recently been told she has leukemia. can it be treated? if yes can it be completely eliminated?

By Anonymous February 22, 2010 - 11:36pm
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my aunt usually went for cholestrol check ups every 3 to 4 months. the last check up lead to visibility of abnormal cells in her blood. is it possible to detect these cells within this period? she had to under go the bone marrow biopsy and is still waiting for the results. is it possible to eliminate it completely? we all have been worried about her, and she is loosing hope on herself. we dont know how to calm her down. please help, your help will be highly appreciated. thank you

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Hi Anon - Thank you for writing, and for wanting to support your aunt. First, yes, it is possible for abnormal blood cells to show up in a 3-4 month period. You said your aunt had a bone marrow biopsy. Do you know whether her doctor has indicated what type of leukemia he/she thinks your aunt has? Leukemia is divided into four major categories: acute myelogenous, acute lymphocytic, chronic myelogenous and chronic lymphocytic leukemias. The type of treatment your aunt will receive is dependent on the type of leukemia she has, and the stage of the leukemia. The bone marrow biopsy results will provide the information needed to confirm the exact diagnosis and to develop the treatment program. You can learn more about the specific leukemia here:

Also, do you know what type of doctor is treating your aunt? Leukemia is a rare condition and it is vitally important to be under the care of a physician who specializes in treating leukemia.

I can understand why your aunt would be afraid, and why you would be too. When I was first diagnosed and told friends that I had leukemia they became very worried and afraid. I think the main reason was that movies about people with leukemia, and most of the fund-raising events for leukemia patients, tend to give the impression that leukemia is always a fatal illness. Many advances have been made in medicine to support patients with blood cancers, including leukemia, and those successes don't get nearly as much attention. There is a lot of good news about leukemia treatment today and there is a lot of support available for both patients and those who care about us. Once we know which type of leukemia your aunt is dealing with I will be able to provide you with a lot more information, but in the meantime I just wanted to introduce myself to you as a resource. Neither of you needs to be alone in dealing with this. You, and your aunt, are welcome to ask any question you need to ask and we will be here to help you.

I also suggest that you and your aunt get in touch with your local chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/ This is a nonprofit organization that provides many services for patients, and even has a program in which newly diagnosed patients can talk to a long-term survivor. There is a LOT to learn when you have an illness like this. Being able to talk one-on-one to someone who has personally been through all of this is very valuable and reassuring.

Take good care, Pat

February 23, 2010 - 5:31pm

Hi, Anon, and thank you so much for writing.

Please try not to be so very scared right now. And your aunt should NOT be giving up hope! Leukemia is treatable. The most important thing for your aunt to do right now is to get her bone marrow biopsy results and find out what kind of leukemia she has, and what the doctors recommend for treatment.

Here's a great website that may help you when you have specific questions:

One of our guides, Pat Elliot, has leukemia herself, and is a fabulous resource. I'll make sure she sees your question. As soon as you know what kind of leukemia your mom has and what treatment is recommended, please come back and let us know, OK?

February 23, 2010 - 9:34am
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