What is hematologic oncology?
Hematologic oncology involves the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers and blood-related disorders. The Hematologic Oncology Program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) provides advanced medical therapies for individuals with hematologic malignancies, including the following:
Experienced care team
If you have blood-related cancer, it’s important to have a hematologic oncologist as part of your cancer team. Our hematologic oncologists have expertise in treating hematologic diseases using leading-edge technology and a personalized approach.
They work closely with your oncologists and the rest of your care team to deliver advanced treatments to destroy the disease and reduce the possibility of relapse, and support you with therapies to keep you strong and reduce side effects, like bone and/or neuropathic pain.
Individualized treatment approach
We use state-of-the-art diagnostic tests, such as lab work or imaging tests, to develop an individualized treatment plan that works for you. Your plan will include a powerful combination of treatments, such as new, targeted therapies, aggressive chemotherapy regimens, advanced radiation therapies and improved integrative oncology services.
Stem cell transplantation
A stem cell transplant (or hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation) is a promising option for some hematologic cancer patients. Advances in stem cell research have refined traditional approaches to reduce complications and provide better benefits for patients.
A stem cell transplant infuses healthy blood-forming stem cells into the body. Stem cells can be collected from the bone marrow, circulating (peripheral) blood, and umbilical cord blood. There are two main types of stem cell transplants:
- Autologous stem cell transplant - Stem cells are collected from the patient themselves. Some patients may be eligible for two autologous transplants (a tandem transplant).
- Allogeneic stem cell transplant - Stem cells are taken from a matching donor (e.g., relative/family member, unrelated individual, saved umbilical cord blood).
Before a stem cell transplant, you will likely undergo a conditioning regimen, which involves intensive treatment to destroy as many cancer cells as possible. You may receive high doses of chemotherapy and, in some cases, radiation therapy (e.g., total body irradiation). Some patients may receive reduced-intensity conditioning (a “mini-transplant”), which uses lower, less toxic doses of chemotherapy.
Once this preparative regimen is complete, you’re ready to undergo the transplant. Much like a blood transfusion, you’ll receive the stem cells intravenously. In the months following the transplant, your doctors will monitor your blood counts on a frequent basis. You may need transfusions of red blood cells and platelets.
Improving quality of life
Recovery from hematologic cancer treatments like stem cell transplantation can take several months. During and after your treatment, our hematologic oncologists will work with the rest of your care team to provide integrative oncology services, including nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, counseling and physical therapy to help reduce side effects and improve your quality of life.