Leukemia Treatment Information

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects a person’s ability to produce normal white blood cells. In a healthy individual, the body creates white blood cells that help stave off infection. Typically, new cells are formed as healthy cells produce copies of themselves, and over time, these cells naturally die off when they become old or damaged. However, with leukemia, these old cells do not die, but instead build up in the blood stream, preventing normal, healthy cells from reproducing. 

Common types of leukemia

Leukemia is a condition that takes many different forms, depending on the specific types of cells that develop the condition, as well as the speed in which the disease manifests. The types classified as “acute” can progress quickly, whereas those classified as “chronic” can take a long time to become problematic and can oftentimes be lived with for many years. The terms “myeloid” and “lymphocytic” reference the type of cells from which the cancer originates.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

AML is a fast-progressing cancer that develops from myeloid cells in the bone marrow that would otherwise become healthy white blood cells (not including lymphocytes), platelets or red blood cells. This type of leukemia is also called acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia. AML is more common in older patients.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)

ALL is a fast-progressing cancer that develops from immature lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell (specifically, T cells and B cells). This type of cancer is also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia. ALL occurs more often in children than adults.

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)

CML is a slower-growing cancer that develops from myeloid cells in the bone marrow that would otherwise become healthy white blood cells (not including lymphocytes), platelets or red blood cells. Another name for this type of cancer is chronic myelogenous leukemia. CML is more commonly diagnosed in adults, but it can also occur in children.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

CLL is a slower-growing cancer that develops from immature lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell (specifically, T cells and B cells). CLL is the most common type of leukemia in adults.

Moffitt's approach to treating leukemia

Within Moffitt Cancer Center’s Malignant Hematology Program, our multispecialty team has extensive experience working with patients who have been diagnosed with leukemia or who believe they may have the disease. After using state-of-the-art diagnostics testing to confirm the presence of leukemia, our cancer experts can then determine the best course of action depending on the type and stage of the cancer. We also have a unique tumor board, comprised of oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, pathologists and other cancer experts that meets weekly to develop a personalized treatment plan for each individual patient depending on his or her diagnosis and molecular profile. 

Some of the types of leukemia treatment this multispecialty team might recommend include: 

  • Chemotherapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Blood and marrow transplants
  • Clinical research trials
  • Surgery

Moffitt Cancer Center is well regarded for our commitment to ongoing leukemia research, and we have been recognized as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, in part, because of our leadership in innovative leukemia treatments and clinical trials. 

For more information on our leukemia treatment options, contact Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our online new patient registration form. No referral is necessary to schedule an appointment with a doctor specializing in leukemia

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