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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Leukemia

Question: AML Leukemia - Treatment Options?

 Chris - Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:35 pm

My father (age 70) has recently been diagnosed with AML Leukemia (90% bone marrow replaced with leukemia cells) and has only been give a few months potentially to live. The Doctors have said due to his age and his symptoms (breatlessness, fatigue and chest pain) chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation are not options. He has had 4 blood transfusions a week apart with 2-4 units on each occassion. He felt terrific after the first (like a 21 year old again!) but no different after the others.
The doctors are now only suggesting morphine for the pain and breathing.

Are there any other options which can be considered to extend his life or slow down the leukemia (he would really like to reach his golden wedding anniversary in 3 months) ?

Any comments would be appreciated.
Worried son.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:00 am

User avatar Dear Chris,

I am sorry for the delay in responding to your message.
I hope he has received the appropriate medical care.

Even old patients with AML are offered chemotherapy treatment. It is the only way to achieve remission for this disease. The prognosis and Remission rates in adult AML are inversely related to age, with an expected remission rate of >65% for those younger than 60 years.

Old patients above the age of 70 can be offered standard doses of chemotherapy for induction, if their general condition allows. However, only 1 or 2 cycles of induction therapy is given to reach CR. Consolidation doses are not recommended instead they are either kept on follow up or on low dose of cytarabine.
For those who suffer from high leukocyte count can receive cytoreductive drug (hydroxyurea and cytarabine) to control the leukocytosis related complication.

Supportive care will improve temporarily the general condition.

New trials are running to explore the role of new drugs in improving the outcome in Geriatric patients with acute leukemia.

Your doctor must have a very good reason not to give him the chemotherapy treatment, so I advise you to discuss with him these informations to understand well the reasons behind this decision.

Best of luck.
 Chris - Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:57 pm

Thanks for the response and hopefully it will be of some value to anyone else in the same situation.

Unfortunately my father passed away 7 weeks after my posting.

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