By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
My child was just diagnosed with ALL. What sort of prognosis are we facing?
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is always scary, especially when your child is the person getting the news. Acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL, as it is known, can be additionally stressful because of the fast-progressing nature of the cancer. The meaning of acute in the name defines a key characteristic of the disease; patients can go from showing no symptoms and feeling healthy to being extremely sick or dead in a matter of months.
There are 6,000 new cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia diagnosed each year and 1,470 deaths are related to it. The risk of developing ALL is highest in kids aged 5 and younger, and the risk increases again at the age of 50. More cases of this cancer develop in children; only 4 of 10 new people diagnosed are adults. Over a lifetime, the risk of developing ALL is higher in Caucasian males. Most deaths related to ALL occur in adults.
The good news is that ALL is treatable, especially in children. The most recent statistics show that among children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, another term for this type of cancer, nearly 98% will attain remission (in other words show no evidence of disease). Also, 85% are expected to be event-free long-term survivors at the five-year point. And, if these children are treated early in their diagnosis 90% are expected to be alive into adulthood. This a great overall prognosis.
However, the statistics are not nearly as positive with adults. Even with treatment, only 68% survive five years after diagnosis. The big questions are:
- Why are children with ALL responding so well to treatment?
- What is the difference of this cancer in kids versus adults?
While researchers are not exactly sure, it is evident that children can handle the stress of ALL treatment better. “The adult body has more DNA damage since it has been exposed to more stresses and environmental factors,” explains Dr. Tom Incledon, founder and CEO of Causenta. “Because of this, the adult body has more difficulty dealing with the treatment and healing afterwards.”
Also, the disease itself is different in children and adults. Adult onset ALL has different characteristics based on other mutations and health issues in the body that occur overtime. These factors make the cancer harder to target and kill.
Causenta’s team of expert oncologists, researchers, and naturopathic doctors work with each of our patients and their families to learn about the specifics of that person’s ALL and how to best treat it. Our goal is to help our patients beat cancer and become the healthiest versions of themselves possible. We perform blood tests that not only measure cancer cells in the blood, but also levels of various minerals and vitamins to determine additional strategies to fight ALL.
If you are interested in learning more about our personalized care and treatment plans for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, contact us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.