How long can leukemia go untreated and still be curable?

I'm writing a story in which one of the main characters will develop cancer. I was thinking of going with leukemia. How early on can you see symptoms and let it go untreated but still be curable? What are the most common symptoms? Any details would be greatly appreciated.

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
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    Depends whether your character is a child or adult. There are many different types of leukemia, not just 4 by the way.

    The most common type in childhood is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and this is probably the most easily treatable so if you want your character to live this might be the best bet. However acute leukemias progress much more quickly than chronic types, so if you want a good delay before symptoms appear and treatment is sought then you might want to go with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The problem though is that CLL and CML affect mainly adults, it is quite rare in children so may appear less believable if your character is a child.

    If your main character is an adult then the chronic leukemias are the most common, Chronic Myelocytic Leukemia and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for example. There can often be delays in recognising symptoms and seeking treatment, and this disease may go on for years but often it changes into an acute leukemia and the patient suddenly declines and often dies.

    Symptoms are many and varied but may include night sweats, fatigue, recurrent infections, headache, easy bruising, joint pains, swollen lymph nodes, unexpected weight loss and swelling of the abdomen from an enlarged spleen.

    There's so much information, but I hope that helps. You can google these diseases yourself to find out more info.

    Good luck with your story.

    Source(s): Medical scientist
  • 1 decade ago

    A diagnosis of leukemia can be devastating — especially for the family of a newly diagnosed child. Remember that no matter what your concerns or prognosis, you're not alone. The road ahead may not be easy, but these strategies and resources may make it easier:

    Know what to expect. If you or your child is diagnosed with leukemia, find out everything you can about the type, the stage, the treatment options and their side effects. The more you know, the more thoughtful you can be in your decisions. In addition to talking with your doctor, seek out information from reliable sources such as the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    Be proactive. Although you may feel tired and discouraged, don't let others — including your family or your doctor — make important decisions for you. Take an active role in your treatment.

    Maintain a strong support system. Having a support system and a positive attitude can help you cope with the issues, pain and anxieties that might occur. The concern and understanding of a formal support group or others coping with cancer can be especially helpful. Although support groups aren't for everyone, they can be a good source for practical information. You may also find you develop deep and lasting bonds with people who are going through the same things you are.

    Set reasonable goals. Having goals helps you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. But don't choose goals you can't possibly reach. You may not be able to work a 40-hour week, for example, but you may be able to work at least part time. In fact, many people find that continuing to work can be helpful.

    Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help combat the stress and fatigue of cancer. Also, plan ahead for the downtimes when you may need to rest more or limit what you do.

    Stay active. Having cancer doesn't mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy or normally do. For the most part, if you feel well enough to do something, go ahead and do it. It's important to stay involved as much as you can.

  • 4 years ago

    Leukemia once was an almost certain death sentence many years ago but advances in treatment have meant a better prognosis in many cases today. I think age and type of leukemia are also important factors in whether it is curable. My cousin was just 5 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia & underwent grueling rounds of chemo & almost died from the treatment. Today she is healthy and a 30 year old with children of her own! She's a miracle.

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