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How You Can Help A Loved One With Leukemia?

Leukemia can easily be overlooked because early symptoms may resemble symptoms of the flu or other common illnesses. Leukemia symptoms can vary depending on the type of leukemia. People often first go to the doctor because they think they have a cold, the flu or some other respiratory infection that persist and doesn’t go away.

Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. Abnormal white blood cells form in the bone marrow then quickly travel through the bloodstream and crowd out healthy cells. This increases the body’s chances of infection and other problems.

The goal of treatment for leukemia is to destroy the leukemia cells and allow normal cells to form in the bone marrow. Treatment decisions are based on the kind of leukemia, its stage, as well as age and general health.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of the two is typically used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation may also be done under special circumstances.

Common Signs and Symptoms Include:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Fatigue, weakness

  • Frequent Infections

  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Bone or joint pain

  • Rashes or tiny red spots in the skin

  • Sweating (often at night)

  • Headaches, balance problems

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you.

What can you do when a loved one is diagnosed with Leukemia?

Be A Support A Leukemia diagnosis can be very scary making it easy to focus on the negatives. Your loved one is going to need to remain positive and exert a great deal of effort and energy in order to beat the cancer. Your loved one will need your help to remain calm, focused, and to have faith and hope that a cancer free outcome is in their future.

Be Prepared for Schedule Changes. You should be prepared for changes in your daily routine if you are going to assist your loved one throughout the treatment. If you are working you will need to discuss with your boss about the possibility of having a flexible schedule or about taking time off. If you have small children you will need to line up temporary back up care assistance. It will be important to go on medical appointments with your loved one, especially at the beginning. It may be difficult for them to process all of the information and having someone to take notes and ask questions is important. Once treatment starts there may be side effects with nausea and diarrhea and you loved one will be weak and need a variety of assistance to remain stable.

Try to make the main focus of your energy and attention be on the needs of your loved one. A cancer diagnosis is not the end, it is just the beginning of a fight for which your love, support and hope will be very much needed.

For more helpful information on cancer treatment and how to navigate through the journey, go to www,

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