Leukemia

Leukemia overview

You are at the center of everything we do at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Here, we surround you with a team of specialists who work together closely to provide expertly targeted, complete care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in leukemia with a commitment to meet your unique needs.

Why choose SCCA?

  • Comprehensive leukemia treatment 
    Our doctors are experts in the complex range of treatments leukemia may require. Based on the specific features of your disease, your team may recommend chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy or bone marrow transplant, all available at SCCA.
  • Leukemia clinical trials
    To give you access to the most innovative therapies, SCCA unites the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in leukemia clinical studies not available everywhere.
  • Pioneering new approaches
    Researchers here pioneered bone marrow transplant and continue to refine it, making transplant an option for more people. We are also advancing chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and tools like UW-OncoPlex, which tests for genetic mutations, helping doctors plan effective care.
  • Bone marrow transplant for leukemia
    The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA consistently achieves higher-than-expected transplant survival rates. We’ve performed more bone marrow transplants than any other institution in the world.
  • A national leader in cancer care
    SCCA is the leading cancer treatment center in the region and among the top nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. 
  • Magnet hospital award
    University of Washington Medical Center, where our patients receive hospital-based care, has been honored as a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing, which is linked to better outcomes for patients.
  • NCI comprehensive cancer center
    We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Targeted therapy A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells while causing less harm to normal cells. A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells while causing less harm to normal cells. Some targeted therapies block the action of certain enzymes, proteins or other molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Other types of targeted therapies help the immune system kill cancer cells, or they deliver toxic substances directly to cancer cells and kill them. Targeted therapy may have fewer side effects than other types of cancer treatment. Most targeted therapies are either small molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies.

Facts

Unlike many cancers, leukemia rarely forms solid tumors. Instead, leukemia is cancer of the bone marrow and blood. 

Treatment

It is important to receive care at a specialized center with expertise in treating your specific type of leukemia.

Providers

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

Clinical trials

To give you access to the most innovative therapies, SCCA unites the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in leukemia clinical studies not available everywhere.

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease.

Resources

There are many resources online for learning about your disease. Health educators at the SCCA Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.