Leukemias and Lymphomas
When treating children with complex medical conditions, such as leukemia and lymphoma, we focus on not only curing the disease, but also addressing the other medical and psychological issues that may accompany the diagnosis. Our program of coordinated, comprehensive care leads the country, and often the world, in the diagnosis, treatment and care of children with leukemia or lymphoma.
Backed by leading-edge research at the Masonic Cancer Center, our team continues to stay at the forefront of treatment for leukemias and lymphomas, the most common childhood cancers. We believe that collaboration, especially with our partners in oncology/hematology to create a comprehensive leukemia program, is the key to taking leukemia treatment to the next level.
Our physicians treat many children with leukemia or lymphoma. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. It can affect white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets. In healthy children, bone marrow stem cells develop into myeloid or lymphoid stem cells. In acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the lymphoid stem cells do not develop into healthy blood cells. When this happens, non-functional cells accumulate and are not able to fight infection very well. As the number of leukemia cells increases in the blood and bone marrow, there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) affects the myeloid stem cells in a similar way.
Most childhood leukemias are acute, meaning they develop rapidly. The majority of children with leukemia have no known risk factors. Children with leukemia may experience fatigue, infection, low blood counts, joint pain, weight loss and easy bleeding.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system or lymph nodes, the part of the body designed to fight off infections and other diseases. Because lymph tissue is found throughout the body, lymphoma can start almost anywhere and spread to many tissues and organs. There are two main types of lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is frequently characterized by large, cancerous cells in the lymphatic system and is highly curable. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is actually a group of more than 30 blood cancers in the lymphatic system. Most develop from B-lymphocytes and are called B-cell lymphoma. Others develop from T-lymphocytes and are called T-cell lymphoma. Children with lymphoma may experience swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats and weight loss.
During the initial consult, our physicians will review the existing medical records provided by doctors including medical notes, x-rays, laboratory results and bone marrow results.
We tailor our treatment to the child, depending on his or her individual illness. Our physicians may suggest one or more of the following therapies. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cells or to stop their growth. Radiation uses high energy x-rays or other radiation to do the same thing. Our physicians may recommend high-dose chemotherapy combined with a stem cell transplant. This treatment destroys the cancer cells and replaces them with new, blood-forming cells. The fourth treatment option is targeted therapy, which uses drugs to attack specific cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
If a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) is recommended, you will receive additional information for your specific case. Learn more about what to expect during the transplant process.
The Comprehensive Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma Care program is the only clinic of its kind in the state. Together with our expert colleagues in the hematology/oncology program, we develop a coordinated care plan designed together with the patient and family. Patients will see a variety of health professionals during a single 90-minute clinic visit, reducing the number of separate appointments.
Our program of coordinated, comprehensive care leads the region in the diagnosis, treatment and care of children with leukemia or lymphoma.
A multidisciplinary team of physicians and other providers will care for your child, including experts who specialize in treating leukemias and lymphomas. This team includes hematology and oncology experts, pharmacists with expertise in chemotherapy and drug interactions, radiation therapists, surgeons, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, and social workers.
In the case of BMTs, our entire blood and marrow transplant team is involved. For children with leukemia or lymphoma, this team is led by the following physicians:
We continue to develop novel therapies and treatments to improve the care and outcomes for children with leukemia or lymphoma, making the process safer and more effective. Our experts are also collaborating with others around the world to enhance the standard of care. Learn about current research projects here.
Your child may be eligible to enroll in a clinical trial and benefit from the latest treatment and care options. If so, his or her participation will also contribute to the body of knowledge that may lead to improved outcomes for other children. Your physician will discuss clinical trial options with you. View a list of open clinical trials for children with leukemia or lymphoma.