Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Cells not working correctly begin to crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. Leukemia mostly occurs in adults over age 55, but it is also the most common childhood cancer. Every day in the United States, 148 people are diagnosed with leukemia. More than 327,520 Americans are living with leukemia.
There are several kinds of leukemia:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): This is an aggressive type of leukemia. It occurs when you have too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) in the blood and bone marrow.
- Acute myeloid or myeloblastic leukemia (AML): Also an aggressive, fast-growing disease, AML differs from ALL in that too many myeloblasts are found in the bone marrow and blood.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): This is more slow-growing than AML and ALL. In later stages of the disease, it can produce cancer cells in the lymph nodes, which is called small lymphocytic lymphoma. Because of that, if you have CLL, you are managed by a lymphoma specialist.
- Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): This slowly progressing disease produces too many myelocytes in the bone marrow. The Philadelphia chromosome, a genetic mutation, is often responsible. This mutation is not passed from parent to child.
- Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML): This diagnosis is considered a type of myelodysplastic syndrome that affects mainly older adults. CMML patients have more monocytes (large white blood cells) in their blood than is healthy. Many patients have enlarged spleens. The spleen is an organ under the ribcage and above the stomach. It works as a type of filter for the blood and immune system. About 15 to 30 percent of CMML patients go on to develop acute myeloid leukemia.
- Hairy cell leukemia (HCL): This cancer is slow growing and can happen if your bone marrow makes too many B cells (lymphocytes). Lymphocytes fight infection. The excess B cells look hairy when viewed under a microscope. If diagnosed with HLL, your care will be managed by a lymphoma specialist.
- Large granular lymphocytic leukemia (LGL): This rare form of leukemia, also managed by a lymphoma specialist, is chronic and slow growing.
- Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS): In MDS, some of the cells in the bone marrow are damaged and have problems making new blood cells. Of those made, many of the blood cells formed by the damaged bone marrow cells are defective, leaving the patient with low blood counts because there aren’t enough normal blood cells. In about one-third of patients, MDS can progress to acute myeloid leukemia.
Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?
Our hematology team has successfully treated more leukemia patients than any other South Florida provider. More experience in your exact cancer offers you better potential outcomes.
More cancer clinical trials than any other South Florida hospital. If appropriate for your cancer and stage, our clinical trials provide you with the very newest ways to treat and potentially cure your cancer.
Controlled, consistent bone marrow samples for diagnosis and treatment monitoring. We’ll get it right the first time. With our OnControl bone marrow hand-held sampling device, developed by one of our oncologists, we can take bone marrow samples in less than five minutes with less pain to you. As a result, you get a more accurate diagnosis.
Multidisciplinary care teams with nationally recognized expertise. Your care team is made up of experts in every single aspect of your disease.