Leukemias are two types one of mature cells and one in which there is uncontrolled growth and improper maturation of white cells. Acute leukemias are more serious diseases than chronic ones and the cells are immature. Chronic leukemias generally have proliferation of mature cells. Both these leukemias eventually do not allow normal cell proliferation and bleeding or infection are the major terminal events. There are excellent results with newer therapies in either of these types of
Lymphomas are a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. A common lymphoma includes growth of lymphoid proliferation in bone marrow, lymph glands or liver and spleen. When they
progress immunity is impaired and patients succumb to infections.
Multiple myeloma is a disorder of proliferation of plasma cells and as the disease progresses because of destruction of bones related to plasma cell growth and the factors they release. Patients end up with fractures and elevated calcium levels. With current therapies excellent control can be achieved in most patients.
At The Cancer Center, located at Little Company of Mary Hospital, we have ability to diagnose leukemia in early stages with sophisticated immunologic studies and chromosome analysis. The newer tests allow us to detect even one leukemic cell in a million, which allows us to monitor the response. Sophisticated diagnostic tools, such as chromosomal analysis with FISH studies, allow us to diagnose, monitor and even prognosticate the leukemias.
Chemotherapy is typically used to treat these disorders. Lately immunotherapy with antibodies has been used as well as therapy that targets the enzymes that drive the growth. In the patients that need other therapies such as BMT we do have affiliation with University of Chicago Medical Center that assist with that mode of therapy as well. At The Cancer Center we offer special therapy that is specific to the need of the patient.
Lymphomas include several types of mature cells and some of immature cells. We have excellent diagnostic tools at our disposal including tests such as PCR and FISH. These tests allow us to prognosticate and diagnose complex tests when aided with flow cytometry which determines the stage of maturation of lymphocytes.
Multiple myeloma is again diagnosed on the basis of bone marrow and blood tests and the therapeutic decision is based on the chromosomal analysis as well. The prognosis of this tumor has progressively improved with newer therapies and Marrow Transplants (when needed).
Other ancillary tests such as CT scan, PET scan and imaging modalities as Bone Scan and MRI are readily available and these tests are useful in defining the extent of the disease and the response to the treatment.
Chronic leukemias are currently treated with variety of agents, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy to enzymes that drive the growth of cells and variety of suppressors of lymphocytes with their growth mechanism. The success rate of therapy of chronic myeloid leukemia with tablets has been so good that we see longer survivals without chemotherapy in these patients. The targeted therapy with various agents is available at our Center.
For more information on Little Company of Mary’s Hematology / Oncology team, click here.