According to the Department of Health (DoH), leukemia is the fourth cancer killer in the Philippines. Further, the Philippine Health Advisories Report of DoH ranks leukemia as the fifth in overall mortality. It is the fourth leading cause of death among Filipino males, and sixth among Filipino females. Despite these facts, little attention is accorded to leukemia in the country.
After diagnosis and treatment, many people with leukemia live many good, quality years. You may find that knowing more about the disease and its treatment can help you cope.
Adult leukemia, which is really a group of diseases, can be a baffling condition for patients and families to understand, and finding targeted information on individual conditions can be difficult.
Newly diagnosed: First steps
Hearing the news that you have blood cancer may be a shock to you and your loved ones. You may feel sad, depressed or afraid.
But learning about your cancer can help you make knowledgeable decisions with your doctor about your cancer treatment and take an active role in your ongoing care.
Many people are better able to cope once they begin treatment and can look forward to the prospect of recovery.
Your treatment team
Your oncologist—a highly trained and experienced cancer doctor—will head your team of cancer specialists. Oncologists and hematologists are specialists who treat persons with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative diseases.
The oncologist or hematologist oncologist coordinates a treatment and follow-up plan that involves other doctors, as well as nurses, social workers, case managers and nutritionists. This group of health-care providers is often called the treatment team.
Before you begin your cancer treatment, make sure you’re aware of any potential treatment side effects and how the treatment may affect your body. Many side effects are manageable when proper precautions are taken.
Life after diagnosis and treatment
The cancer experience doesn’t end when treatment ends. No one forgets that he, she or a loved one once had cancer. After remission, you may still feel anxiety about your health and fear that the cancer may return.
Survivors don’t necessarily need a cancer specialist for routine check-ups and screening, but they do need to see doctors who understand their previous treatment and its risks. Specialists and primary care doctors can work as a team to provide the best care.
Survivorship programs, focusing on life after cancer, are offered at several major hospitals.