Health Library Home>Conditions InDepth>Article

Treatments for Leukemia

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

Leukemia treatment depends on 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. Even after treatment is done, you will have lifelong monitoring 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, so it will not need to be treated until symptoms appear.

Your care team is made up of many types of health professionals. This includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. Keep in touch with your team and to go recommended appointments. This will help you get the most from the treatments.

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. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should enlist in a clinical trial. You can find out about them at the US National Institutes of Health website.


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (ALL). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated October 17, 2018. Accessed March 13, 2019.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated August 14, 2018. March 13, 2019.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated November 21, 2017. Accessed March 13, 2019.

Chronic myeloid leukemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated January 4, 2018. Accessed March 13, 2019.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP