Typically, you can trust your white blood cells to keep your blood free of harmful bacteria and other pathogens. Too many white blood cells could point to one of several leukemias, which the cancer specialists at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, can diagnose and treat with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Set up your appointment at any of the three Houston, Texas, locations or the location in Katy, Texas, by calling the nearest office or booking online today.
Leukemias are a category of blood cancers that affect white blood cells. Your white blood cells play an important role in your immune system by clearing the blood of invasive bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other cells that don’t belong there or could harm you.
If you have leukemia, the number of white blood cells in your system increases by a lot because of accelerated cell division. It happens in a few different ways depending on the type of leukemia you have.
Leukemia starts in the bone marrow, which produces your blood cells. After production, white blood cells flow through your blood and the lymph fluid in your lymphatic system. Some white blood cells come from the spleen and lymph nodes, so the cancerous cells tend to cluster together in these organs.
Leukemias, like other cancers, can be hard to pinpoint from their ambiguous symptoms alone. However, there are some key symptoms that can show up as the cancer develops and spreads. Some of the most common early signs of leukemias are:
Since these symptoms are typical of other conditions and diseases, many of which are less serious than leukemia, you should contact the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, for a specialist assessment.
Several different tests can detect leukemia, including complete blood count (CBC) and tissue biopsies of the bone marrow or lymph nodes. Then, your provider stages the cancer after viewing the cells under a microscope to determine your outlook with treatment.
Leukemias can be trickier to treat than other types of cancer since it's a blood disorder and can spread easily. After staging cancer, your specialist at Houston Cancer Institute, PA, decides when you should start treatment and which treatments are appropriate for your case.
For most leukemia cases, treatment options are:
Immunotherapy is a way of treating cancer by enhancing the immune system, which makes sense as a treatment for leukemias since they affect the immune system. There are a few different types, but they all train your immune system to recognize and eliminate cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy is a way of treating cancer with systemic medications. The specific drugs included in your chemotherapy depend on the type of leukemia you have.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that damages leukemia cells to stop their growth. It uses X-rays or other beams of energy.
A bone marrow transplant replaces your bone marrow with healthy donor stem cells. Your physician recommends getting either chemotherapy or radiation before undergoing this procedure.
Don’t let leukemia go undetected. If you experience unusual symptoms like fatigue, bone pain, or mysterious red spots on the skin, call Houston Cancer Institute, PA, or request an appointment online today.