How is pediatric leukemia treated?
Complete care for leukemia includes not only trying to kill the cancer but also treating infections and other conditions resulting from the disease or its treatment. Our team will work together, and with you and your child’s other healthcare providers, to create a treatment plan specifically for your child. Treatment may include:
- Chemotherapy using medicine that goes through the body to kill cancer cells wherever they are. Children who undergo chemotherapy at Miami Cancer Institute can choose from a variety of interactive experiences in our child-friendly Infusionarium.
- Radiation therapy using high-energy beams of radiation to kill cancer cells
- Targeted therapy using drugs that attack specific cells
- Bone marrow (stem cell) transplants
Your child may also need:
- Blood transfusions
- Antibiotics to prevent or treat infections
Leukemia treatment usually proceeds in stages, including:
- Induction: including a combination of chemotherapy to stop the abnormal cells from being made in the bone marrow. The goal is remission, meaning the leukemia cells can no longer be detected. More than 95 percent of children with ALL enter remission after one month of induction.
- Intensification (consolidation): chemotherapy is continued for several months even though leukemia cells may not be visible. For some children with high-risk leukemia, the doctor may recommend high-dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant.
- Maintenance: less intense chemotherapy is used to maintain leukemia-free bone marrow. This is used for ALL but not for AML and can last for several months or several years. Treatment for CML may begin with a targeted therapy drug.
Because treatment can be confusing and stressful for children, our child life specialists are on hand to answer questions and help ease anxiety.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Stem cell transplantation experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.
Pediatric Support Services
Our Pediatric Support Center team addresses the social and emotional needs of your child and provides support to the whole family, including siblings. We provide a compassionate environment, engaging activities and a range of complementary therapies to make sure your child remains psychologically healthy during the treatment process and beyond.
Miami Cancer Institute designed a space where kids can receive the necessary treatments while being immersed in a technological experience that positively affects their outcomes. The Infusionarium uses virtual reality and live feeds to connect patients to an experience that can help ease the effects of chemotherapy.