There are different treatments for each individual cancer type, and even those who have the same type of cancer, will be on a different plan. There is no “One size fits all.” Because of this, I can only give you details of my daughters treatment.
Treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia includes a wide range of drugs, given in various different ways, and her drip stand was usually filled with many pumps to administer them.
When presented with the treatment plan, it looked like a code we had to break. It was presented in a graph chart, with many abbreviations, dashes, bars, arrows, and a timeline.
Thankfully our consultants walked us through the treatment protocol, and by the second week, we were able to work out the code for ourselves.
Here is a breakdown of Hannah’s first intensive stage of treatment:
Prednisone – For 7 days, 3 times a day.
Dexamethasone – For 31 days, 3 times a day.
Vincristine – Through IV, once a week, for 4 weeks.
Cytarabine – 30 minute infusion, once a day, for 14 days.
Daunorubicin – 1 hour infusion, once a day, for 2 days.
L-Asparaginase – 1 hour infusion, twice a week, for 3 weeks.
Intrathecal Chemotherapy (into spinal fluid):
Methotrexate – Twice, on day 1 and on day 29 of the induction stage.
Cytarabine – Once, on day 15.
Prednisolone – Three times, on days 1, 15 and 29.
She also had 3 bone marrow aspirates, small samples were taken from her bone marrow, to determine how many leukaemia cells were in her body. She had these on day 1, 15 and 33. There were also multiple additional drugs she had to take alongside these, some to prevent infection, side effects and allergic reactions, others to treat infections whenever they appeared.
By the time Hannah was diagnosed, it was determined that she had 33% of leukaemia cells in her body. They also had to do a test on her genetic make-up, as this would decide on what her next stage of treatment would be, these tests confirmed she was low risk, and they could continue with the treatment as originally planned.