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Treatments for Leukemia

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Treatments for Leukemia

The goal of treatment is to kill cancer cells and slow the pace of disease. It is also to control symptoms caused by the loss of healthy blood cells.

Leukemia treatment depends on several things. This includes the type, how much it has spread, past treatments, symptoms, age, and overall health. It is often treated with more than one method.

Acute leukemia needs care right away because of how it affects the body. It is often intense at first, but it can lead to a remission or cure. After treatment is done, it will need lifelong monitoring. This is to make sure it has not come back.

Chronic leukemia is harder to cure. Treatment may involve easing symptoms caused by cancer or slowing its pace. In some cases, it may only need to be watched. It can take months or years before it causes problems. It will not need to be treated until symptoms appear.

Leukemia treatment may include:

Treatments for many cancers are always changing. Some have yet to be found. As a result, clinical trials exist around the world. A person can talk to their doctor about being in a clinical trial. More information can be found at the US National Institutes of Health website.


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (ALL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-lymphoblastic-leukemia-lymphoblastic-lymphoma-all-lbl-in-adults.
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-myeloid-leukemia-aml.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia-cll-small-lymphocytic-lymphoma-sll.
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-myeloid-leukemia-cml.
  • Jabbour E, Kantarjian H. Chronic myeloid leukemia: 2020 update on diagnosis, therapy and monitoring. Am J Hematol. 2020;95(6):691-709.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.