Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Leukemia cells divide to produce copies of themselves. The copies divide again and again, producing more and more leukemia cells. Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don’t die when they become old or damaged. Because they don’t die, leukemia cells can build up and crowd out normal blood cells. The low level of normal blood cells can make it harder for the body to get oxygen to the tissues, control bleeding, or fight infections. Also, leukemia cells can spread to other organs, such as the lymph nodes, spleen and brain.
Leukemia can either be acute or chronic, and the type is determined by the cell affected and rate of leukemia cell growth. The following are types of leukemia:
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
- Hairy Cell Leukemia
Your Care at the Cancer Institute
The Cancer Institute at The University of Tennessee Medical Center offers the broadest spectrum of cancer specialists and services to care for our patients with leukemia.
Our team provides patients with leukemia access to all of their cancer care including medical oncology, genetic counseling/testing, chemotherapy infusions, supportive/integrative health services and integrative health services — all in one building.
The Cancer Institute offers a highly trained team of oncologists trained at some of the top institutions in the country, bringing the best care to patients in our region. Our center is designed to assist and support patients through their cancer journey so they can choose the most appropriate treatment plan based on their particular diagnosis and needs. Medical oncology services are available at the main Cancer Institute location, as well as satellite office locations in the Knoxville and surrounding counties of Blount, Sevier, and Loudon for the convenience of our patients.
Patients are reviewed at multidisciplinary conferences where surgeons, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, genetic counselors, nurses and clinical trials coordinators gather to determine the best individualized treatment plan for each patient. This level of coordination ensures that patients are receiving the highest level of care, offering the best outcomes and quality of life. Our comprehensive care teams also include integrative healthcare, a registered dietitian, financial counselors, pastoral care, palliative care, and a social worker.
Clinical trials are research studies made available to patients that offer the newest treatments and test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat diseases. For more information, visit the Clinical Trials page or call 865-305-9773.
Your Next Steps
If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with a leukemia, we are here to help. Hanna Cancer Associates and University Cancer Specialists have board certified medical oncologists who are experts in the treatment of hematologic cancers.
Our Cancer Institute team is here for you in what can be a very stressful time. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions and request help when you need it. Our new patient section will provide you additional information about the Cancer Institute and everything you need to know to prepare for your first visit.
For more information on leukemia, visit our External Resources page for several trusted sites to enhance your research and understanding of your diagnoses.