We create individualized treatment plans, with our specialists working with patients and their families to come up with the best and most comprehensive plans.
Acute Leukemia Treatment
Acute leukemia treatment usually starts with a concentrated month or so of treatment to kill as many cancerous cells as possible and put the disease inremission. Up to two years of less intense treatment follows to make sure any remaining leukemia cells are destroyed — while the cells might not be active, they could eventually regrow and cause the disease to return (relapse).
Patients might spend much of the initial treatment period in the hospital, especially children and teens. Because of the risk for complications like infections, it’s important to get acute leukemia treatment at experienced centers like ours — centers that provide key additional support like specialized nursing care, nutritional help, antibiotics and blood transfusions.
Chronic Leukemia Treatment
We continue to make strides in treating chronic leukemia, but the disease is not usually curable. We provide top care to manage your symptoms and keep the cancer in check. We also understand that ongoing treatment can cause its own anxiety and stress and offer additional support.
Some patients diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can live for years without treatment — in that case, we provide careful monitoring (watchful waiting) and care for associated problems like infections.
Leukemia Treatment Considerations
Our recommendations for the best treatment approach (including therapy type and dose intensity) typically depend on:
- Leukemia type: ALL, AML, CLL or CML
- Type of cells the cancer began in and the leukemia subtype: Patients with different subtypes may have different prognoses and responses to treatment.
- Patient’s age and overall health
- The presence of certain genetic changes, including the Philadelphia chromosome (learn more about our blood targeted therapy)
- If the leukemia is newly diagnosed or has come back (a relapse): If a relapse occurs, then we account for how long it’s been since initial treatment and the location the cancer comes back — the bone marrow, or other parts of the body, including the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system.
- Number of immature cells versus healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and/or platelets
- Whether the patient received chemotherapy in the past for a different cancer
- Whether there is a history of a blood disorder like myelodysplastic syndrome (learn more about our myelodysplastic syndrome care)
- How quickly and how well the leukemia responds to initial treatment
- Whether the patient is designated high risk or standard risk (child ALL only)
- Size of the spleen (CLL and CML only)
- Size of the liver or lymph nodes (CML only)
- Whether the leukemia was likely caused by previous cancer treatment (AML only)
- Whether the child has Down syndrome, which means a cure is more likely (child AML only)
Learn more about our blood cancer treatments:
Make an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a hematologist in Washington, DC, please call our scheduling line.
Meet the Team
Find a hematologist at MedStar Georgetown to meet your individual treatment needs.
Learn more about hematological disorders and blood cancer care at MedStar Georgetown: