A leukemia diagnosis can come after experiencing what seemed to be rather mild symptoms. It’s understandable that you might have a lot of questions related to stage, treatments, survival rates, and how to choose your cancer care team. Our hematologists, who specialize in treating cancers of the blood, have put together this guide to answer some of those questions and provide you guidance on how to start your road to recovery.
Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, it’s time to schedule an appointment for leukemia treatment. At Willamette Valley Cancer Institute & Research Center, you will see a physician who is a medical oncologist and hematologist. These two specialties go hand-in-hand.
A medical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in cancer care using drug therapies. A hematologist is a doctor who specializes in blood diseases, including the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers like leukemia. If you had a hematologist diagnose your leukemia, chances are they can also provide treatment for it.
The WVCI oncologist/hematologist will spend time with you and your family so they can better understand your specific situation. As needed, you may meet with other types of physicians involved in your treatment process.
You will also have a team of oncology nurses, physician assistants (PAs), psychologists, nutritionists, and social workers who can be a part of the team to help ensure you receive the best care possible.
Depending on the type of leukemia and the stage, you may be able to delay starting treatments until the cancer has grown further. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that doesn’t show symptoms can be monitored for a period of time before starting treatment. Other types of leukemia, such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia, grow faster and will need to be treated right away.
A bone marrow transplant is not often the first line of treatment and would be considered after other treatments are used to see if they’re effective for the patient.
At WVCI, we know every patient’s journey is unique. As you adjust to your new life after a leukemia diagnosis, know that we are ready to provide you with the information and support you need every step of the way.
Here are some questions to consider asking when meeting your medical oncologist /hematologist:
It will be difficult to remember all the important information that will be coming your way. Because of this, we highly recommend keeping a notebook to stay organized. Write down important information, such as how you’re feeling and any medicines or supplements you’re taking. This is also a good place to jot down the questions you have and the answers you receive.
If a notebook or binder isn’t your preferred method for staying organized, choose what does work best and commit to using it regularly. The goal is to keep a record of everything so you can maintain clear communication with your cancer care team.
Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center is fortunate to be a member of The US Oncology Network, one of the nation’s most extensive community-based cancer treatment and research networks. Through our partnership with The US Oncology Network, we can provide many investigational drugs as treatments for our patients through clinical trials. These patients have access to treatment options that are not fully available to everyone yet. We are currently offering multiple trials for eligible blood cancer patients, including those with leukemia. Learn more and view open leukemia clinical trials in our area. Be sure to ask your physician if any current trials are a good fit for you.
Feeling confident about your leukemia diagnosis is important. In most cases, you have time to get a second opinion before beginning any leukemia treatment plan. At WVCI, our physicians provide many second opinions for all types of cancer diagnoses and treatment plans. While most insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, it’s best to check with your insurance provider to verify your coverage before making an appointment.
To schedule a second opinion with one of our physicians, please request an appointment at the WVCI location most convenient for you.
The leukemia specialists at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute understand this is a difficult time. However, you can do this, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Our cancer care team is ready to talk to you about your type of leukemia and all of your treatment options. When you’re ready, click the button to make an appointment with one of our blood cancer specialists at a location convenient to you in Corvallis, Eugene, Florence, Newport, and Lincoln City.
You might also find comfort by visiting our Resources page. You can also check out our list of support groups that you may find helpful.