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ALL (Acute Lymphoblast Leukemia) and Prognosis

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I have a family member who was just diagnosed with ALL Lukemia. He is 89 years old and not in any shape to be aggressive with treatment. The doctor put him on steroids last week. His white count was doubling daily. Our family has come to grips with the fact that this condition is fatal. We are most concerned right now with how it will happen. Can anyone tell me what happens at the end of this disease? What fails? How much pain? How do we know when it's coming to the end?

Thank you...desperate for answers...

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replied December 4th, 2006
Leukemia Answer A1856
ALL (Acute Lymphoblast Leukemia) is more commonly diagnosed for children than for adults. The prognosis, however, is worse for than for children. To define, ALL is malignant tumor of the bone marrow. Malignant cells proliferate rapidly ,destroying the surrounding normal bone marrow cells. Destruction of the healthy bone marrow cells than leads to anemia, thrombocytopenia and leucopenia. Anemia weakens the heart; thrombocytopenia causes bleeding, and leucopenia makes the body vulnerable to infections. Malignant cells during ALL can also spread through the body, infiltrating and damaging all the organs (especially the brain, liver, spleen, bones and lymph nodes). High temperature and pain are usually present. The body can retire from infections and heart failure. Aggressive chemotherapy can sometimes be impossible due to age. Without chemotherapy, a person experiencing ALL can die within a few months.
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