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What is consolidation chemotherapy?

Consolidation chemotherapy is the second step in treating Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Consolidation chemotherapy happens when we are unable to find signs of leukemia cells in your bone marrow (complete remission).

It is possible that leukemia cells are still present in your bone marrow. We may not be able to find these cells.

You will get consolidation chemotherapy to kill any remaining leukemia cells and prevent the leukemia from coming back. With consolidation chemotherapy you will get the same or similar chemotherapy medicine that you got during induction therapy (the first part of your treatment).

You will get your consolidation chemotherapy as an outpatient. This means you will not have to stay at Sunnybrook Hospital overnight for your treatment. Your health care team (nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, pharmacists, social workers) will work together to care for you when you come to Sunnybrook for your treatment.

Consolidation chemotherapy has two phases:

  • Treatment phase
  • Recovery phase

What is the treatment phase? (Days 1-5)

The treatment phase is when you get your chemotherapy medicine. Your treatment phase will last for 5 days in a row.

You will get two chemotherapy medicines called Daunorubicin and Cytarabine.

You will get these medicines through your central venous catheter. A nurse will ask you questions about how you are feeling and discuss any concerns you might have.

You will get help to manage any chemotherapy side-effects you have like:

  • Nausea (feeling of having to throw-up)
  • Mouth sores
  • Constipation

A pharmacist will also meet with you to review your prescription medicine schedule. You will get blood tests done at least once during this week.

What is the recovery phase? (Days 6-28)

The recovery phase happens after you have finished getting your chemotherapy. Your recovery phase will last for 3-4 weeks. You will come to Sunnybrook Unit C606 during your recovery phase 2 times a week (for example every Tuesday and Friday) for 3-4 weeks.

You will get blood tests done at each appointment and will meet with a nurse to review the results. During the recovery phase, the level of blood cells (red and white blood cells and platelets) your complete blood count (CBC) will be low.

You may need many blood and platelet transfusions while your blood counts are low. You may also need help from your health care team to fight infections.

Outpatient Consolidation Chemotherapy

You will go to the Outpatient Complex Malignant Hematology (CMH) unit located on the 6th floor – C wing, room 06 (C606).