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Childhood Leukemia Physiotherapy
Leukemia refers to a cancer of blood-forming cells, and is the most common cancer
diagnosis in children. However, the exact cause of leukemia is not known.
Survival rates of children with the disease have improved in recent
years and will continue to improve.
What our senior physiotherapists do to help children with
childhood leukemia focuses on
- maintaining strength and function
- reduce some of
the effects of cancer treatment
What is Childhood Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming cells found in the bone
marrow, the soft center of most bones, where blood cells are produced.
When leukemia is present, the body produces increased numbers of
immature blood cells called "blasts." These blasts do not mature
correctly; the large number of abnormal, incorrectly maturing cells can
crowd out normal cells in the bone marrow.
Typically it's only the white blood cells
are affected, but other types of blood cells, such as red blood cells
or platelets also can be affected.
- Red blood cells are responsible for
delivering oxygen to all the parts of the body
- Platelets clot the blood
in order to stop bleeding
- White blood cells protect us from
Having a reduced number of normal cells of any of these
specialized blood cells will definitely be negative and detrimental to our health.
- A lack of red
blood cells may result in anemia, causing fatigue and difficulty
- Low levels of platelets can result in bleeding or easy
- Not having enough white blood cells increases the risk of
Because leukemia changes the blood, the illness is systemic
and affects the whole body. Leukemia accounts for about 30% of all
cancers seen in children.
Types of Leukemia
Childhood leukemia is classified into several types described as
either acute or chronic. Acute means that the cancer is growing rapidly.
Chronic means that it is growing more slowly.
Acute leukemia is more common in children and can be grouped into 3 main types:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is commonly
diagnosed in young children, most often between the ages of 2 and 4
years. ALL occurs more commonly in boys, and in Hispanic or Caucasian
children, and less often among African American children.
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) can develop at any
time during childhood, but it is most commonly diagnosed within the
first 2 years of life and during teenage years. AML is diagnosed equally
across genders and races. AML is also known as acute myeloid leukemia,
acute myelocytic leukemia, or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
- Hybrid or mixed-lineage leukemia is a rare form of leukemia that has characteristics of both ALL and AML.
- Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is another rare type of leukemia, and is neither acute nor chronic.
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
are 2 chronic forms of leukemia that are rare and more often seen in
what Does childhood leukemia Feel like?
Children with leukemia may experience:
- Weight loss
- Bone pain
- Bruising or bleeding
- Weakness or fatigue
- Swelling or pain in various parts of the body
As leukemia cells increase in the bone marrow and the normal cells
that prevent anemia, bleeding, and infections are decreased, children
may become weak, experience fatigue, and generally not feel weak and generally unwell.
increased bleeding may cause symptoms such as
- bleeding gums or
If the leukemia cells enter other organs,
swelling and pain might occur in almost any part of the body. Children
typically enjoy activities and play. When any of these symptoms are
present and children limit their participation in play, they need to be
examined by a medical professional. Some other illnesses may have
symptoms similar to leukemia, and health care providers can conduct
tests to find the correct diagnosis.
How Is childhood leukemia Diagnosed?
When a child or teenager shows symptoms that could be related to
leukemia, a physical examination and a full review of the child's
medical history by a health care provider is essential.
share any family history of cancer, the symptoms they have noticed, how
long the symptoms have been present, and any risk factors, such as
genetic factors or previous treatment with chemotherapy or radiation.
Several tests are used to diagnosis leukemia, including
- blood tests
- bone tests
- spinal fluid tests
The blood sample is evaluated to
determine the number of each type of blood cells present (called a
complete blood count). The cells' appearance is also examined under a
microscope. When leukemia is present in a child, the blood tests often
reveal increased numbers of abnormal, immature white blood cells—the
above-mentioned "blasts"—and a reduced number of red blood cells.
Additional tests are used to classify the leukemia and to gather more
information about the specific genetic makeup of the abnormal cells.
These tests may be repeated during treatment to determine how well the
child is responding to treatment.
How Can our senior PhysioTherapists Help?
Our senior physiotherapists are an important member of the team of health
care professionals working with children who have leukemia. Our physiotherapy goals of treatment for all children include:
- Reducing pain
- Maintaining strength and movement
- Supporting participation in activities as possible during chemotherapy or other treatments
The most common medical treatment for leukemia is chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is given as combinations of several different drugs and can
be given in a variety of ways, such as intravenously or in a pill form.
Chemotherapy regimens for the ALL type of leukemia usually take about 2
to 3 years. The regimens for the AML type of leukemia take
approximately 1 year.
Another possible medical treatment for leukemia is a stem cell
transplant (SCT). In this form of treatment, stem cells are given to the
child with leukemia either from a sibling, unrelated donor, or possibly
from umbilical cord blood. The SCT is used to replace healthy stem
cells in the bone marrow.
Children receiving chemotherapy may experience side effects,
- hair loss
- mouth sores
- decreased blood
- changes in sensation
- particularly in the feet
- muscle weakness
The effects of the SCT may be similar. The lengthy
treatment also may result in weakness and a loss of the ability to
participate in activities like other children.
implement ways to modify and encourage play and learning activities to
allow continued participation by the child during treatment.
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Phoenix Rehab physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist
physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly
trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of
expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on
- core stability
- flexibility and
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to
- accelerate recovery and
- shorten downtime / recovery period required
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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