Leukaemia

Leukaemia treatment at GenesisCare

We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including leukaemia. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists that are experts in this disease who work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Treatment overview

The main approaches to leukaemia treatment include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, steroids, growth factors, advanced radiotherapy, transplants and surgery. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.

There are four main types of leukaemia. They are categorised according to how quickly the condition develops (acute or chronic) and the type of cell that is affected (myeloid or lymphoid stem cells). They are 

According to Cancer Research UK, around 10,000 people are identified with leukaemia in the UK each yearHowever, early diagnosis and treatment can mean a positive outcome for many. 

We are the UK’s leading specialist private cancer care provider, and by choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best personalised care plan for your diagnosis. 

It is our commitment to offering world-class care to every patient with cancer. 

How is leukaemia treated?

There are a number of options of treatment available for leukaemia at GenesisCare, such as:  

  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs which destroy the cancerous cells 
  • Targeted therapy – a specialised group of drugs that attack or block specific processes in the cancer cells, causing them to die  
  • Immunotherapy – drugs that help your body’s immune system recognise and fight the cancer 
  • Steroids – anti-inflammatory medication that kills the cancerous cells and improves the effectiveness of other leukaemia treatments 
  • Growth factors – natural compounds that help the bone marrow to replace damaged white blood cells and stem cells 
  • Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells 
  • Transplants – replace abnormal blood cells and damaged stem cells 
  • Surgery – removal of organs that have increased in size as they’ve filled up with abnormal white blood cells 

Contact us

These web pages provide general information about leukaemia treatment at GenesisCare. If you would like to contact us in confidence, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Make an enquiry
Chapter 2

Diagnosis

How is leukaemia diagnosed?

At GenesisCare, we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers and we understand that this can be a very worrying time for you. Our diagnostic services are first-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms are often caused by conditions other than leukaemia. Whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay. 

If you’re concerned about potential leukaemia symptoms, we offer fast access to specialist leukaemia tests and diagnostics. We also offer a dedicated Rapid Access Haematology Service at some of our centresHere you’ll see one of our expert consultant haematologists who specialise in blood and bone marrow cancers. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as blood testsbone marrow aspirate biopsy, and imaging scans (including ultrasoundPET/CToCT scans). Appointments are usually available within 24 hours.  

What are the symptoms of leukaemia?

The symptoms of leukaemia are not always noticeable. They are also similar to other illnesses making them difficult to spot. The most common leukaemia symptoms are: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Breathlessness 
  • High temperature and sweating 
  • Pale skin 
  • Red or purple spots on your skin 
  • Bruising and bleeding 
  • Lumps or swelling 
  • Pains in your bones or joints 
  • Abdominal discomfort  
  • Repeated infections 

If you have any concerns, you should seek medical advice or book an appointment through our Rapid Access Haematology Service. 

Rapid Access Haematology Service

Our specialist team of haematology consultants can assess and diagnose conditions quickly so you can get the answers you need and plan any treatment immediately.
Make an enquiry
Chapter 3

Drug treatments

At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage leukaemia, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and can answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.

Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer. 

There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible. 

Our comprehensive medical oncology service includes: 

Chemotherapy for leukaemia 

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells and can be used to treat all four types of leukaemia. Chemotherapy can be delivered either on its own or in combination with other treatments such as leukapheresis which filters excessive white blood cells from the body. 

Targeted therapy for leukaemia 

Targeted (also called biological) therapies are a specialised group of drugs that are designed to attack or block certain processes in cancer cells that tumours depend on to survive and growAt GenesisCare, we have the following targeted therapies available for leukaemia patients: 

  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors 
  • Bcl2 inhibitors 
  • Hypomethylating agents 

Immunotherapy for leukaemia 

Immunotherapies work by helping your body’s own immune system to recognise and fight the cancer. This type of treatment is only available for patients with acute lymphoblastic or chronic myeloid leukaemia and includes: 

  • Interferon alpha 
  • CAR-T cell therapy 
  • Monoclonal antibodies 

Growth factors for leukaemia 

Growth factors are natural compounds that stimulate the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells and stem cells. We offer this treatment alongside chemotherapy and stem cell or bone marrow transplants for leukaemia patients.  

 

 

Steroids for leukaemia 

Steroids are anti-inflammatory drugs. They can be given on their own to kill leukaemia cells or prescribed alongside chemotherapy to increase the effectiveness of treatment and manage side effects. 

Palliative care  

If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body or returned after treatment, it’s called advanced, relapsed or refractory leukaemia. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced leukaemia to reduce the size and progress of your cancer and ease any symptoms 

Personalised medicine 

For some advanced cancers we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us to identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay. 

Clinical trials  

There may be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for leukaemia. Clinical trials can be considered a suitable treatment option if you’ve exhausted standard therapies or evidence suggests the trial treatment will be more successful at treating your condition. Your haematologist will discuss these opportunities in more detail with you.  

Drug treatment side effects 

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Señora feliz después de haber superado un cáncer de sangre
Chapter 4

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy forms part of an overall care plan for leukaemia patients needing a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, or those with an enlarged spleen. We also offer advanced brain-sparing radiotherapy techniques for cases where leukaemia has spread to the brain or spinal cord.

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK. We offer world-class expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.

Your treatment will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists, radiotherapists and medical physicists. They’ll work together to ensure that you receive only the best possible care.

Radiotherapy techniques for leukaemia

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCare, we offer VMAT to all eligible leukaemia patients with an enlarged spleen. This is because it’s widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy. 

Total body irradiation (TBI) delivers radiation to your whole body and is used to help kill leukaemia cells in the bone marrow before a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.  

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is available to patients with advanced leukaemia that has spread to the brain or spinal cord. Despite its name, SRS is not surgery. Its a painless procedure which precisely delivers multiple beams of radiation to brain and spinal tumours, sometimes in a single treatment session. 

Side effects of radiotherapy

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you before you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Advanced radiotherapy
Chapter 5

Transplants and surgery

Stem cell or bone marrow transplants are available for all types of leukaemia and are often used to replace abnormal white blood cells. You’ll likely have an autologous stem cell transplant, where the stem cells are collected from your body before chemotherapy. You may need an allogenic transplant in some rare instances, where the stem cells have come from an appropriately matched donor.

Some chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients find their spleen can increase in size as it fills up with abnormal lymphoid cells. In these cases, surgery is occasionally recommended to remove the enlarged spleen.

Our consultants themselves, or in collaboration with leading haematologists and surgeons who are experts in transplants for blood and bone marrow cancers, will offer these treatments. If your consultant recommends one of these procedures, they can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.

Transplant and surgery side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 6

Integrative care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres. 

Wellbeing

We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all leukaemia patients at any of our 14 UK centres 

Chapter 7

Why choose us?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for leukaemia treatment, you’ll be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant haematologists and oncologists. They’ll design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers. 

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care. We have meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here. 

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.