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Leukemia Diagnosis and Treatment

Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment | Additional Patient Support

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Approximately 52,000 cases of the various types of leukemia are estimated to be diagnosed yearly.

The experienced, collaborative team of specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center combines the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care, creating a program of personalized medicine and patient-centered care for each individual diagnosed with leukemia.

Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Kellogg Cancer Center team works collaboratively and is dedicated to putting patients—and families—at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.

Leukemia Screening and Diagnosis

In leukemia, or hematologic malignancy, the marrow often can no longer produce enough normal red and white blood cells and platelets (the blood cells that prevent bleeding).

Leukemia is divided into four major categories:

The signs and symptoms for leukemia are often vague, but may include fatigue, repeated infections, lasting low-grade fever, bruising easily, and nosebleeds or other hemorrhages.

There is no established screening for any type of leukemia. Because symptoms often resemble those of other less serious conditions, leukemia can be difficult to diagnose early. Symptomatic patients may undergo a variety of pathology tests, which may include blood tests, and a bone marrow biopsy and aspirate. It is important to note that many forms of leukemia do not require a bone marrow biopsy, and can be identified through a peripheral blood smear. 

There is no standard staging system for leukemia. Untreated, in remission, or recurrent are terms used to describe the status of the disease.

Personalized Leukemia Treatment

Chemotherapy is the most effective method of leukemia treatment. Various anticancer drugs are used either in combination or as single agents. Under appropriate conditions, bone marrow transplantation may be useful in treating certain forms of leukemia. Antibiotics and transfusions of blood components are used as supportive treatments.

Our team personalizes each leukemia care plan to address a patient's acute or chronic leukemia - we determine the intensity of the treatment depending on risk factors and analysis of specific mutations. Our targeted therapies have increased the likelihood of response to mutations, exemplified in cases such as the response to the 17p deletion (leukemia caused by a mutated 17th chromosome), the source of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a common form of leukemia. 

Stem cell transplantation is sometimes a course of treatment for patients with leukemia.  Kellogg Cancer Center has an accredited program by The Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy for autologous stem cell transplantation.

Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets in a multidisciplinary conference to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. For leukemia, your team may include your hematologistsurgeon, radiation oncologistgeneticist, pathologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, interventional radiologist, social worker and researchers, all focused on you. This "meeting of the minds" provides critical input, resulting in an individualized care plan outlining the best course of action for each patient.

Patients are at the center of this multidisciplinary team, and Kellogg staff arrange for them to be seen by their multidisciplinary team at one appointment, not only for their convenience but to provide a consensus on their course of treatment. Our use of one of the most advanced Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in the country enhances our open communication and promotes collaboration in our patient care.

Additional Patient Support

Kellogg Cancer Center’s unique services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.