Using the latest treatments to fight blood cancers
Approximately every three minutes, one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer. The team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, radiation therapists, nutritionists, oncology certified nurses, social workers and patient navigators at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion use the most advanced treatment options to take care of our blood cancer patients.
Types of Blood Cancers
The most commonly diagnosed blood cancers are leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Leukemia: Leukemia is cancer that starts in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is where new blood cells are made, including white blood cells, which help fight infections. When a person has leukemia, the body makes too many blood cells of one type. These abnormal cells, usually white blood cells, look different than normal blood cells and don’t act as they should. They also interfere with making of other blood cells, usually red blood cells and platelets. There are four main types of leukemia: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CCL) and Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML).
Lymphoma: Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Hodgkin lymphoma: Also known as Hodgkin disease, Hodgkin lymphoma starts in the lymphatic system when cells grow out of control. This most often happens in the lymph nodes. The mass of extra cells form a tumor that can sometimes form in the spleen or other organs. Hodgkin lymphoma can spread in different ways depending in the type of lymphoma and where it started growing. There are two main types of Hodgkin lymphoma: Classic Hodgkin lymphoma and Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin disease.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma also is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. It generally develops in the lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue and in some cases involves bone marrow and blood. Different than Hodgkin lymphoma, in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer cells make up most of a tumor. There are several common types of lymphomas, which are diagnosed depending on where they start, B-cells or T-cells, or how fast they grow.
Myeloma: Myeloma develops when a plasma cell is changed. In some cases, myeloma cells collect in one bone and form a single tumor, called plasmacytoma. In other cases, the myeloma cells collect in many bones, forming many tumors. This is called multiple myeloma. Two other types of myeloma are localized myeloma (found in one site with exposure to neighboring sites) and extramedullary myeloma (involvement of tissue other than the marrow, such as the skin, muscles or lungs).
Treating Your Blood Cancer
Your oncologist or hematologist-oncologist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include other physicians, nurse navigators, social workers and nutritionists. Your treatment regimen will depend on several factors including the type of blood cancer, the cancer cells’ location, and your white cell count, amongst others. Possible treatment options include:
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs, either administered orally or through IV, to kill multiplying cells, including cancer cells.
Radiation therapy: Radiation Therapy is the use of high powered radiation or radioactive elements to kill cancerous cells.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that seeks to stimulate your own immune system to fight cancer.
Blood transfusion: Blood transfusion uses cells donated by healthy volunteers that can help replace red cells, platelets and other blood components.
Clinical Trials: New treatments are being studied every day in clinical trial research. Learn more about the LCRP’s Clinical Trials Program here.
For more information on our comprehensive cancer services and physician specialists at the LCRP, please call 912-819-5704. We look forward to helping you.