Leukaemia is cancer of the blood, in easy terms the bone marrow becomes corrupt and produces immature white blood cells instead of mature white blood cells, because the cells are immature they die quickly not sustaining the body like mature cells & causing the marrow to mass produce, these immature cells crowd out the other cells, eventually the blood is made up completely of immature white cells causing untold complications such as fatigue, infection, internal bleeding & certain death.
The most common childhood Leukaemia's are ALL(acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) & AML(acute myeloid leukaemia). ALL has a 3 1/2 year treatment protocol for boys, it's a long unpleasant process, survival rate for boys is lower than girls, overall 5 year survival rate is approx 85%, there are no survival rate statistics available past 5 years. There is also a 50% higher chance than the normal population of other cancers occurring 10-15 years later due to the heavy chemo protocol kids with leukaemia endure.
The treatment protocol for AML is much shorter 6-8 mths but with heavier chemo's as AML is more aggressive, many AML patients relapse leaving a bone marrow transplant as their only hope of full remission, ALL relapse is also treated by transplant. Overall 5 year survival for AML is between 50-70%, this also depends on the subtype of AML such as APL which has similar survival rates to ALL.
So your brothers team mate is going through a pretty hard time at the moment, this treatment is tough & very invasive, my daughter was diagnosed at the same age. I think it's great that you are asking questions to give yourself a better understanding of what this little kid is having to deal with, he needs everyone's support, nearly all my daughters friends died, we are very lucky to have her, there are many emotions these kids have to contend with as well, it affects every corner of their lives.
Check out this link for info
· 8 years ago