Leukemia – 3 ways to manage the condition

Leukemia – 3 ways to manage the condition

Leukemia is a disease wherein the bone marrow produces a high amount of dysfunctional white blood cells. These white blood cells do not allow the red blood cells to function properly. The cause of the disease is not known. However, there are some factors like radiation exposure and genetics, that may increase the risk of leukemia. Here are the treatments, foods to eat and avoid, and lifestyle changes to manage the condition:

The treatment for leukemia involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, targeted therapy, stem cell transplant, and even surgery.

    It is an injection used for the treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). It is known to work with the immune system to search and destroy cancerous cells. This treatment option also helps in alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy.
    It is used to manage the symptoms of Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It helps in making CML a more manageable condition to live with.

Foods to eat

  • Vegetables
    Vegetables that contain sulforaphane like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale should be consumed by those recovering from leukemia. Studies suggest that sulforaphane can help in slowing the spread of leukemia.
  • Fruits
    Fruits like apples and cranberries should also be consumed. These fruits contain ursolic acid, which is known to help decrease the tumor growth.
  • Low fat dairy and protein items
    Fat-free or low fat dairy products, like skimmed milk or yogurt, should be the preferred choice for leukemia patients. Low fat protein sources like chicken, fish, soy can also be consumed along with whole grains like oats and millets.

Foods to avoid

  • Undercooked or raw meat
    This tends to have bacteria, and there could be chances of cross-contamination. To avoid this, it’s best to stay away from undercooked or raw meat.
  • Sushi or sashimi
    Foods like sushi or sashimi are undercooked, which could give rise to the spread of bacteria. Leukemia patients should stay away from such foods as they can cause food-borne illnesses.

Lifestyle changes

  • Join a support group
    Joining a support group is one way to manage leukemia. It provides a caring environment to share one’s thoughts and concerns. A support group also educates a person’s family about the condition.
  • Exercise
    Exercising regularly can help boost one’s energy levels and immunity. Leukemia patients are advised to perform some form of moderate aerobic activity, depending on their energy levels.
  • Relieve stress
    Fatigue is one of the major concerns during cancer recovery. Relaxation techniques, like meditation, can be performed to help relieve stress.