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ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA (ALL)
( By JASCAP )

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Follow-up after treatment for ALL

Once your treatment is completed, you'll have regular check-ups and x-rays. These will continue for several years. If you have any problems, or notice any new symptoms between these times, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

Blood tests

Samples of blood will be taken regularly throughout your treatment to check your general health and the number of normal and abnormal cells in the blood.

How treatment for ALL may affect your fertility

Some of the drugs used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia can cause temporary or permanent infertility. Your doctor will talk to you about this before you start your
treatment. If you have a partner you may want them to join you at this time so you can discuss any fears or worries together.

Some drugs have less effect on fertility than others, and couples who have had normal, healthy babies after one of them has been treated for leukaemia. Unfortunately, people who have had intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy and a stem cell transplant, are likely to be permanently infertile.

It may be possible for men to store sperm before starting treatment, so it can be used later if they want to have a family. Rarely, a woman's eggs or fertilised eggs (embryos) can be stored before chemotherapy, so that she may have the chance to have a child after treatment.

However, as treatment usually has to start as soon as possible, there is not always enough time to store sperm or embryos.

As your doctor knows the details of the treatment you are having, they are the best person to answer your questions. You can write down any questions that you have so you are clear about your treatment, and the effect it is likely to have on you, before it starts.

Coping with infertility

If chemotherapy has made you infertile, it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you cannot have children.

Talking about your feelings with your partner, family or a close friend can help to clarify your thoughts and give the people close to you the opportunity to understand how you are feeling.

If it would be easier to talk to someone outside the circle of your immediate friends and family, you may find it helpful to talk to your doctor, nurse, social worker or a trained counsellor.

We have more information about sexuality and cancer, as well as information on sex, relationships and fertility for young people affected by cancer.

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