Leukemia Treatment in India
In this article, we will look at the following aspects of Leukemia:
- Understanding Leukemia
- Identifying the symptoms
- How to detect Leukemia cancer
- Stages and treatment of blood cancer
- Top Hospitals treating Leukemia cancer in India
- Top Hospitals treating Leukemia cancer in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata
- Cost of treatment
Leukemia, a cancer of blood and bone marrow is grappling more and more people around the world than any other cancer type. Whether U.S. or India, the high figures are alarming. An estimate reveals over 327,520 people in the U.S. are living with the disease while in India leukemia is ranked among the list top cancers affecting Indians.
The news of you or your loved one being diagnosed with cancer is naturally a traumatic one. However, due to the awareness about the threatening disease and the advanced treatments available now, the survival rate of leukemia patients has significantly improved. The disease today is curable and manageable, if dealt and treated on time.
The best way to fight leukemia and come up as survivor is to know your disease well and take timely well-informed treatment decisions.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a type of blood cancer caused by the abnormal rapid formation of White Blood Cells (WBCs) in the blood that obstructs the formation of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and platelets required for immunity in the body.
This means if you or your loved one has leukemia, he/she can easily get caught by any infection (viral, bacterial, or other microorganism) and can even easily bruised or bleed excessively.
Leukemia is of two types – acute (attacks the body suddenly and spreads rapidly) and chronic (grows more slowly the over months or years).
Broadly, based on the type of Leukemia and the age incidence, the prognosis of the disease is established by Oncologists.
Acute leukemia is a type of blood cancer which involves a rapid increase in the production of abnormal white blood cells. Due to fast progression and accumulation of the malignant cells in cases of acute leukemia, there is high risk of spread to other organs. Thus, acute leukemia needs to be treated immediately.
Two types of Acute Leukemia:
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL): ALL involves overproduction and buildup of immature malignant lymphoblasts (a type of white blood cells), leaving less space for healthy WBCs, RBCs and platelets in the bone marrow. ALL is the most common type of blood cancer in children.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): AML involves rapid formation of abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cells) interfering with the production of the normal RBCs, WBCs, or platelets. Also known as Acute Myelocytic Leukemia, it starts in the bone marrow and spreads fast into the blood and other organs. AML is more common in adults than in children.
Chronic Leukemia involves excessive accumulation of mature, but abnormal, white blood cells. Such type of leukemia grows slowly over months and years. Patients with chronic leukemia can survive for many years with the disease. Though, it is harder to cure as compared to acute leukemia. Chronic leukemia mostly occurs in older people.
Two types of Chronic Leukemia:
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): CLL begins in lymphocytes (a type of mature white blood cells) in the bone marrow and spreads to blood. CLL builds up slowly over time, and has no visible symptoms for few years. The malignant cells can spread to other parts such as liver, lymph nodes, and spleen. It primarily affects elderly people.
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): Also called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), the bone marrow makes immature granulocytes (a type of white blood cells), which interfere with the normal production of blood cells. Mostly CML occurs in adults.
Why did I get Leukemia?
Anyone can have leukemia – children, women, men, elderly, or young. There is actually no specific cause of leukemia but yes suspected causes given by researchers are:
- Exposure to radiation and chemicals such as benzene and other hydrocarbon
- Exposure to radiations
- Genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome
- Family history of leukemia
Though there are no specific symptoms but if you experience any of the below, you should consult your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment:
- Fever and chills
- Weakness and fatigue
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Continuous headaches
- Enlarged liver and spleen
- Swollen tonsils
Which tests detect Leukemia?
A routine blood test can also detect blood cancer even before you begin to show any symptoms. While on analyzing the above symptoms your doctor would do complete physical examination and know your medical history based on which he/she would prescribe below tests to detect or rule out leukemia:
- Blood tests
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
- Chromosome testing
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
- Ultrasound, X-ray, CT scan, and MRI
Stages of Leukemia
Leukemia has five stages – 0-4. The stage of leukemia denotes the severity of the cancerous cells in the body whether they are confined to bone marrow or spread over to other organs.
Here again it is important to remember early detection of leukemia brings best results of treatment. Oncologist proceeds treatment according to the stage and type of blood cancer diagnosed.
Treatment of Leukemia in India
The treatment plan for leukemia is usually the combination of more than one cancer healing approach. Based on the stage and type of leukemia, your oncologist prepares the treatment plan for you to cure and control the symptoms of the blood disease. An extra care would be taken to protect you from infection as leukemia patients are most vulnerable to them.
Biological Therapy (Biotherapy or Biological Response Modifiers, BRMs)
Biological therapy is used in chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment to destroy and control cancer cells. They also help to overcome side effects caused by other leukemia treatment processes.
Stem cell transplant (commonly known as bone marrow transplant)
The transplant involves a replacement of diseased bone marrow tissue with highly specialized stem cells that further grow into healthy bone marrow. It helps to bring the blood counts to safe levels. Stem cell transplantation uses chemo or radiation therapy to kill the diseased bone marrow. You may receive your own stem cells or the ones donated by another person. The process is done in phases and may take from several weeks to months depending upon your specific case.
It can be given both before and after the stem cell transplantation depending on your medical case. Chemotherapy is actually the different doses of drugs (via pills, injections, or IV solutions) administered into the patient to kill the leukemia cells and also to prevent further relapse.
Your oncologist may use radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. The usage depends upon the stage and spread of the disease.
Targeted drug therapy
This is the advanced treatment for leukemia, which is costlier too. Targeted cancer therapy drugs act differently than chemotherapy as they specifically target certain characters of cancer cells. Targeted therapy is less likely to harm the healthy cells of the body.
Induction therapy is a mix of chemo and targeted therapy.
Generally wait-and-watch approach is followed for patients having early stage of leukemia or chronic type of blood cancer when the disease is not widespread in their body and is progressing slowly. Your oncologist would closely monitor the symptoms before giving any treatment and you would be asked for regular tests and examinations.
Which hospital in India is best for Leukemia treatment?
India also has the best of cancer hospitals, trained and experienced oncologists, and advanced treatment facilities for all types of cancer patients. You do not need to look at western countries for its treatment. Today the country has about 200 cancer hospitals which provide highly specialized and personalized treatment for leukemia. They conduct all types of procedures like bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or biologic therapy, etc. required during blood cancer treatment.
Private hospitals like Medanta- The Medicity, Narayana Multispecialty Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Apollo Hospital, Artemis Hospital, Kokilaben Hospital, Jaypee Hosital, Adyar Cancer Hospital, Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Kidwai Institute of Oncology, Jaslok Hospital, are some of the renowned leukemia hospitals of the country where patients from around the world come to get treated for the disease.
While selecting the right leukemia hospital, you will have to look into several factors like highly experienced oncologist, availability of latest technology, expertise in cancer patient care, and good infrastructure.
Cost of your treatment
Cancer medicines and procedures like stem cell transplant, chemotherapy are expensive and most of us are not in a position to take that financial challenge, especially if there is no insurance cover. Cost of cancer treatment varies with hospitals and cities as every hospital has its own infrastructure, surgeon, therapies, and other tests/examination facilities charges which finally add to the total leukemia treatment cost.
One cycle of chemotherapy in a private hospital may cost you approximately between US$930-US$15,000 depending on the drugs and the doses, type of cancer and patient’s medical condition.
For detailed cost information read: Cost of cancer treatment in India
Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the good hospitals for cancer treatment in major cities of India.
Leukemia hospitals of Delhi
Delhi has about 30 reputed oncology hospitals offering all kinds leukemia treatments. Some of the famous cancer hospitals of the city are Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, BLK Super Specialty Hospital, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Artemis Hospital, Medanta – The Medicity, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Paras Hospital, Action Cancer Hospital, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Cancer Healer Center, and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
The city boasts many highly experienced and qualified oncologists. To name some are Dr. Vinod Raina, Dr. Rahul Bhargava, Dr. Rakesh Chopra, Dr. Ashok Vaid, Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav, Dr. Nitin Sood, Dr. Dharma R Choudhary, Dr. Jyoti Shanker Raychaudhuri, Dr. Sanjeev Kr. Sharma, and Dr. Suparno Chakrabarti etc.
Leukemia hospitals of Mumbai
There are about 30 cancer hospitals in Mumbai offering leukemia treatment. Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Global Hospital, S L Raheja Hospital, Kokilaben Hospital, Wockhardt Super Specialty Hospital, Tata Memorial Hospital, Jaslok Hospital, PD Hinduja National Hospital, Dr. L H Hiranandani Hospital, Nanavati Hospital, Lilavati Hospital, Seven Hills Hospital, and Breach Candy Hospital are some of the well-known reputed hospitals in the city.
To name some of the famous oncologists of the city, known for blood cancer treatments are Dr. Santanu Sen, Dr. Sameer Tulpule, Dr. Subhaprakash Sanyal, Dr. Avinash Deo, Dr Suresh Advani, Dr. VP Antia, Dr. Anupama Borkar, and Dr. Niranjan Rathod etc.
Leukemia hospitals of Kolkata
Kolkata has about 15 oncology hospitals providing world-class facilities and specialized cancer treatment such as Fortis Hospital, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Desun Hospital, Cancer Centre Welfare Home and Research Institute, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, Tata Medical Center, and Charnock Hospital
Some of its well-known oncologists are Dr. Gouri Sankar Bhattacharya, Dr. Shilpa Bhartia, Dr. Joydeep Chakrabartty, Dr. Maitrayee Bhattacharya, Dr. Reena Nair, Dr. Prantar Chakrabarti, and Dr. Rajib De etc.
Leukemia hospitals of Bangalore
There are over 25 oncology hospitals in Bangalore such as Fortis Hospital, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, BGS Global Hospital, Narayana Multispecialty Hospital, Apollo Specialty Hospital, The Bangalore Hospital, HCG Cancer Centre, Manipal Hospital, and KIDWAI Memorial Institute of Oncology known for treating and curing cancer patients.
Some of renowned cancer specialists of the city are Dr. Vineet Gupta, Dr. P. P. Bapsy, Dr. Sachin Suresh Jadhav, Dr. Sharath Damodar, Dr. Sunil Bhat, and Dr. Shobha B etc.
Leukemia hospitals of Chennai
Chennai has over 24 good cancer specialty hospitals like Fortis Malar Hospital, Apollo Speciality Cancer Hospital, Bharathiraja Speciality Hospital and Research Centre, SIMS Hospitals, Global Hospital, MIOT International, Dr. Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai Meenakshi Multispeciality Hospital, Vijaya Hospital, and Adyar Cancer Institute etc.
Dr. Bellarmine Vincent Lawrence, Dr. Raja T, Dr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, Dr. Deenadayalan, Dr. Julius Xavier Scott, Dr. Revathi Raj, and Dr. A Karthikeyan, etc., are some of the well-known cancer specialist in Chennai.
How can MedGurus guide me to the best hospital?
We see Indian hospitals as a reliable and appropriate location for all types of cancer treatments not just for people living in the country but foreign nationals. So if you or your loved one is diagnosed leukemia, you need not worry as you will be in safe hands at the best of hospitals in the country.
MedGurus, an initiave by Global Medi Advisors, is happy to advise you for high quality and affordable cancer cure in any part of India and make your job (of selecting leukemia hospital and best cancer specialist in India) simpler.
Discuss your case with one of our Patient Advisors for a free guidance.