Waldenström macroglobulinemia

Waldenström macroglobulinemia 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 expert care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

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

Why choose SCCA?

  • Experienced diagnosis and care
    Because WM is so rare, most hematologist-oncologists in the community have seen only a handful of people with this condition. At SCCA, we’ve treated more than 200 people with WM in the past five years — experience that translates into state-of-the-art diagnosis and care for you. 
  • Comprehensive WM treatment
    Although WM is lymphoma, it’s a unique type, and many of the usual tenets of lymphoma care do not apply. To receive the most effective treatment for your disease — and avoid overtreatment — it’s important to see doctors with expertise in WM, like our team at SCCA. We provide all forms of treatment for this disease.
  • Advancing new approaches
    Along with offering the latest chemotherapies, targeted therapies and immunotherapies, we’re involved in Waldenström macroglobulinemia clinical trials to develop new options to suppress or kill WM cells. To advance care for patients everywhere, we collaborate with WM experts at other research and treatment centers.
  • Bone marrow transplant for WM
    The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA consistently achieves higher-than-expected transplant survival rates. We pioneered bone marrow transplants and have performed more than any other institution in the world. Dr. David Maloney is an international expert in transplants for WM.
  • 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.
  • 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. Hematologist A physician who specializes in diseases of the blood and blood-forming tissues. 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. Lymphoma Cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer. 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

Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM), also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, is one type of cancer of the lymph system. Like other lymphomas, WM occurs because something goes wrong inside your lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell made in your bone marrow and found in your blood and lymph tissue.

Treatment

Treatment for Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) differs from treatment for other types of lymphoma and must be tailored to each individual. It’s important to be treated at a specialized center with expertise in WM. But because the condition is rare, many hospitals and clinics do not have much experience with it.

Lymphoma Cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.

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

For Waldenström macroglobulinemia patients, this means more treatment options at SCCA than you might find elsewhere, including the chance to participate in one of many ongoing clinical trials conducted at SCCA and its parent organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine.

Resources

There are many resources online for learning about your disease. We’ve compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.