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33

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Version 1.2017

4

Cancer treatments

Chemotherapy

Corticosteroids, also simply called steroids, are often

given along with chemotherapy drugs to treat ALL.

Steroids are drugs that are used to relieve swelling

and inflammation. But, some steroids also have anti-

cancer effects. The two main steroids used in ALL

regimens are prednisone and dexamethasone.

How chemotherapy drugs are given

Chemotherapy drugs may be given as a pill that you

swallow or as a liquid that is injected into your body

with a needle. When given this way, the drugs travel

in your bloodstream to kill leukemia cells in all parts

of your body. This is called systemic chemotherapy.

Drugs may be injected into a vein, muscle, or under

your skin. An IV (

i

ntra

v

enous) infusion is a slow

injection into a vein. The IV infusion may take a few

hours. Or, it may be given over several days—called

a continuous infusion. An intramuscular injection is

when drugs are given into a muscle. A subcutaneous

injection is when drugs are given under the skin.

Figure 9

Central venous line

and port

Chemotherapy is often given

as a slow injection into a

vein through a long, thin

tube. This tube is called

a central venous line or

catheter. The central line may

be attached to a port that is

placed just under your skin.

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