Leukemia

Leukemia is a blood cancer that also affects the bone marrow. It causes rapid production of abnormal white blood cells. Leukemia can affect both adults and children. Adults may have fast-progressing (acute) or slowly developing (chronic) forms of leukemia. In children, leukemia is most often diagnosed in an acute form.

We have one of the most sophisticated diagnostic laboratories in the country—often allowing us to make a diagnosis in just a few hours to a few days. This is significantly faster than most cancer centers.

Receiving a rapid, accurate diagnosis means leukemia treatment, including bone marrow (stem cell) transplant or enrollment in a clinical trial, can start sooner, often resulting in the best possible outcome for our leukemia patients.

Treatments for Leukemia

Spectrum Health Cancer Center is the only cancer center in West Michigan to offer comprehensive testing, treatment and follow-up care for all types of leukemia. As your care provider, we have two priorities: free you of cancer and protect and enhance your quality of life.

The details of your treatment will depend on the type and stage of your leukemia. We will also look at your blood cell counts to determine what will be most effective at fighting your illness. A nurse navigator will help coordinate all of your appointments, so you can focus on healing.

Biologic Therapy
This procedure uses your body's immune system to fight your cancer. This is done by either stimulating your immune system to attack cancer cells or by introducing agents it needs, like antibodies, to kill them.

Blood and Marrow Transplantation
This process delivers healthy blood or bone marrow (as stem cells) to replace unhealthy bone marrow. Before the transplant, intensive treatment will kill as many cancer cells as possible to set the stage for new bone marrow growth.

Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is given in a combination of one or more drugs to kill leukemia cells or stop their growth. It may be given through infusion, orally or both.

Splenectomy
If leukemia cells are present in an organ, such as the spleen, it may be removed. The surgery can help you feel better and also improve your blood counts.

Radiation Oncology
An entire team of medical professionals with advanced training and years of experience deliver radiation treatment and care. Together, they continually work on ways to make radiation therapy more effective while at the same time preventing side effects.