Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
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If you are diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the experienced team at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson can carefully guide you through available treatment options that address all your medical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Bringing together the expertise of Jefferson oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, radiation therapists and radiologists, your medical team will give a thorough evaluation and devise a personalized treatment plan based on the nature of your cancer and its progression. Some people diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in its earliest stages will never need treatment and can be monitored through regular check-ups. If treatment is required, it usually involves a combination of radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and chemotherapy. Our medical team will help you weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment, so you can choose the option that is best for you.
In advanced cases, physicians may perform bone marrow stem cell transplantation to replace cells damaged by chemotherapy with healthy ones. Specialists in Jefferson's Transplant Program are pioneering efforts to reduce complications of transplant procedures, such as a potentially fatal reaction called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in which the donor marrow attacks its new host.
The standard method for preventing GVHD, which involves delivering chemotherapy drugs prior to transplantation, can weaken the immune system, which may cause infections and even secondary cancers. Through this novel procedure developed at Jefferson, chemotherapy drugs are administered after the introduction of T cells but before stem cells are given. As a result, GVHD-causing cells are killed, while sparing cells that restore the immune system. In clinical trials, this approach is bringing individuals lacking well-matched donors quicker, broader access to transplants with better results.
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center's physicians and scientists have helped pioneer new approaches to cancer treatment by translating scientific discoveries into improved patient care. Our physicians are experienced in using the most advanced treatment methods and technologies and are at the forefront of developing new chemotherapies. Jefferson is also home to the region's busiest radiation oncology center and one of the largest programs for cancer treatment in the Delaware Valley.
Additionally, we will provide you and your family a support network that includes specially trained nurses, educators, fellow patients and cancer survivors. Among the wide variety of support programs offered at Jefferson is our Buddy Program, which matches cancer patients with trained volunteer cancer survivors who have been through treatment themselves. You can also access services to meet your emotional and psychological needs during the course of your treatment through the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health.
Clinical trials are the best way patients can receive new therapies and procedures. To find out if a clinical trial might be right for you, ask your health care provider or contact the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Clinical Research Management Office at 215-955-1661.