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Living with ALL

What if ALL comes back?

In 5-6 out of 10 adults (50-60%) ALL comes back after a period of remission. This is called a relapse.

The ALL may come back in the bone marrow, the fluid around the brain and the spinal cord or, in men, in the testes.

If this happens further treatment can be given. For some people, the chemotherapy drugs used during the induction phase may be repeated. However, for others, their leukaemia may be resistant to these drugs, so different drugs or new combinations of drugs may be needed. Treatment with high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell support may also be recommended if it has not been given before. With further treatment about 1 in 3 people (33%) will have another remission.

Sometimes treatment will only be able to control the leukaemia. In this case the aim of treatment will be to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

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