Blood cancer—also referred to as hematologic cancer—is cancer that begins in blood-forming tissue, such as the bone marrow, or in the cells of the immune system.
If you are affected by blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma, it’s good to know that today’s most advanced treatments for these conditions are available at the Mass General Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital-Bethke. We take a multidisciplinary approach to care, which means all the specialists you need work closely together, tailoring care to your unique needs.
Through our collaboration with the renowned Massachusetts General Hospital, you have access to world-class blood cancer specialists (hematologists) and advanced technology in a convenient setting that’s close to your home and family.
The types of blood cancer we treat
Our blood cancer specialists treat the full range of hematologic cancers, including:
- Leukemia (cancer that originates in blood-forming tissue)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer that develops in the lymph system, part of the body’s immune system)
- Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the immune system that’s marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell)
- Multiple myeloma (cancer that begins in the blood’s plasma cells)
Diagnosing blood cancer
Accurate diagnosis and staging of blood cancer is essential for effective treatment planning. We have a team of highly trained hematologists and pathologists
who are skilled at identifying these cancers, using sophisticated lab technology. Diagnostic testing for blood cancer may include:
- Blood tests
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Diagnostic imaging
- Physical exam
- Surgical lymph node removal for evaluation
Blood cancer treatment
Treatment depends on the exact type, location and stage of the cancer (how much it has spread), and may include a combination of these options:
- Stem cell transplantation, which infuses healthy blood-forming stem cells into the body
- Chemotherapy, systemic treatment that uses cancer-fighting drugs to destroy and halt the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given before a stem cell transplant.
- Radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells or to relieve pain or discomfort (palliative therapy). It also may be given before a stem cell transplant.
Genetic Testing and Counseling
Because some blood cancers can have a genetic component, Emerson Hospital offers genetic testing and counseling
to people with a family history of these cancers to help assess their risk.
Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect or treat disease, and are at the heart of all medical advances. You may be offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial at Emerson Hospital; if so, all the risks and benefits will be clearly explained so you can decide whether to participate.
These can include acupuncture, yoga, Reiki, herbal and other complementary therapies that can be helpful in addressing side effects from cancer treatment, reducing stress and strengthening the immune system.
Support Services and Groups
Emerson offers an array of support services to help cancer patients and their loved ones during and after treatment. These include: