By Emre Ilikan
VAN, Turkey (AA) - Leukemia is highly treatable, with some 85% of children suffering from the blood cancer being responsive to treatment, according to an expert.
Dr. Kamuran Karaman, a pediatric oncologist at Yuzuncu Yil University in Van, eastern Turkey, told Anadolu Agency that a high rate of treatment mostly depends on improved patient care, improved laboratory facilities, and better classification of high-risk groups.
Leukemia, a group of blood cancers, can occur in any age group, but is most common in children age 2 to 5, Karaman said, adding: “With a well-done high-risk classification in children, a high number of patients can recover with chemotherapy alone, without the need for stem cell transplantation.”
Karaman stressed that children with leukemia should continue their education to keep their motivation up.
“Teachers assigned by the National Education Ministry come regularly to the hematology service and give lessons to our children.
This way, our children who have not left behind their education feel better, and this greatly helps their treatment,” he said.
- Leukemia not an infectious disease
Even though many see leukemia as lethal, Karaman clarified: “Leukemia is a non-infectious and non-genetically inherited disease that can be cured.”
Karaman said support from the patients' families plays an important role in the treatment process.
“In the experience of our patients' families, we see that they need time to understand exactly what the disease is. Two-and-a-half years or so of treatment for the family can be very difficult to overcome, requires patience, and sometimes can be a disruptive process.”
Karaman also urged families to let their children spend more time outside playing in nature and parks and less time playing online games and being exposed to electronic devices.
*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur