Leukemia and Lymphoma
Leukemia and lymphoma are both hematologic cancers, meaning they affect the blood. Leukemia and lymphoma specifically affect the white blood cells, which are an essential part of the body's immune system and help fight infection. While leukemia originates in the bone marrow, lymphoma begins in the lymphatic system. Both are fairly broad categories that can include different sub-types of disease. The primary categorizations for lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma; leukemia may be categorized as acute or chronic. Morton Plant Hospital offers a wide range of services for the detection, diagnosis and treatment of most types of leukemia and lymphoma.
Risk Factors & Symptoms
Certain factors may put you at an increased risk for leukemia or lymphoma, including:
- Being male
- Being exposed to certain chemicals or radiation
- Having an immune disorder
- Having a family history of leukemia or lymphoma
- Being over the age of 60 (non-Hodgkin lymphoma)
- Being between the ages of 15 and 40 (Hodgkin lymphoma)
If you are at a high risk, talk to your doctor about the possibility of blood chemistry tests or bone marrow tests to aid in early detection. Additional diagnostic testing may be necessary if you exhibit symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes, lumps under the skin, unexplained weight loss, chronic fatigue or difficulty breathing. Testing may take the form of PET/CT scans, a bone marrow biopsy or a lymph node biopsy.
Treatment for Leukemia & Lymphoma at Morton Plant Hospital
Morton Plant Hospital provides comprehensive surgical and nonsurgical treatments for lymphoma and leukemia. Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may be recommended in conjunction with surgery. Nonsurgical therapies include:
- Chemotherapy - drugs used to destroy cancer cells that are either swallowed or injected
- Targeted drug therapy - medication that specifically targets the chemicals that allow cancer cells to divide
- Red blood cell transfusion - done to increase red blood cells in patients who are anemic
- Biologic therapy - therapy done to bolster a patient's immune system; also called immunotherapy or biotherapy
- Plasmapheresis - removal and replacement of thickened plasma from the blood; also called plasma exchange
- External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) - high-powered X-rays aimed directly at the tumor from outside the body
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) - highly precise radiotherapy that delivers computer-controlled doses of radiation to the tumor
Surgery in the form of lymph node dissection, also called lymphadenectomy, may also be recommended before or after nonsurgical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Outpatient chemotherapy and radiation therapy are conveniently located on the campus of Morton Plant Hospital at the Powell Pavilion and the Lykes Radiation Pavilion, respectively.
For a free physician referral, please call the BayCare Customer Service Center at (727) 462-7500 or find a specialist near you.