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Hematologic Malignancies

Blood/hematologic cancers most often begin in the bone marrow where blood is produced. Stem cells in the bone marrow develop into white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets. Blood cancers occur when uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells overtakes the development of normal blood cells and interferes with the regular functions of these cells. Blood cancers fall into three categories: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

Leukemias are blood cell cancers; some leukemias are fast growing, while others develop slowly. Most often leukemia is diagnosed in adults over the age of 55, but it is also a commonly seen in children under the age of 15. For 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates the U.S. will see about 60,300 new cases of leukemia (all kinds) and 24,370 deaths from leukemia (all kinds).

Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes (infection-fighting white blood cells) develop abnormally and become lymphoma cells. These multiply and aggregate in lymph nodes and other tissues. Among common lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, AIDS-related lymphoma, and primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma. In 2018, about 83,180 new cases of lymphoma are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. (8,500 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma; 74,680 cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma).

Myeloma is a cancer that occurs in plasma cells. Normal plasma cells create antibodies that fight disease and infection. However, when abnormal myeloma cells develop, they interfere with the antibody production and lead to lessened immunity. An estimated 30,770 new cases of multiple myeloma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018.

Sources: American Cancer Society; American Society of Hematology; Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; National Cancer Institute.

Featured Programs

Advances in Multiple Myeloma and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia ECHO Clinic

ACCC is committed to help ensure access to recommended care for patients who receive treatment for multiple myeloma or acute lymphoblastic leukemia through a partnership with the American Cancer Society and Project ECHO. The educational focus will be on bringing the latest content knowledge and best practices in the treatment of these hematological cancer patients to your cancer care team.

Participation in the TeleECHO Clinic is free. The clinics will convene by videoconference each month.

Each session of the Advances in Multiple Myeloma and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia TeleECHO Clinic includes a short talk on a topic related to the treatment of these hematological cancer patients and review of patient cases submitted by spoke site participants. Topics include:

  • Understanding minimal residual disease (MRD) as a biomarker
  • Current standard of care/guidelines (including stem cell transplants)
  • New and emerging therapies, clinical trials and shared decision-making
  • Managing symptoms and side effects (possible multiple sessions)
  • Multidisciplinary care and care transitions (patient co-management)

This program will provide specialty multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia cancer treatment information and training to healthcare providers to help build their capacity to provide high-quality, best-practice care locally for patients and thereby increase access to care across the nation.
Contact Monique Dawkins, EdD, MPA, for information on how to participate. 

Multidisciplinary Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Care

The ACCC Multidisciplinary Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Care education project seeks to identify key barriers to and opportunities for improvement in the cancer care team’s support of patients diagnosed with ALL, including utilization of MRD testing, detection, and monitoring.

Read ACCC’s environmental scan including an overview of the current landscape for ALL diagnosis and treatment, along with opportunities to improve patient care.
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Multidisciplinary Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Care

The ACCC Multidisciplinary Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Care education project seeks to understand the current landscape of treating CLL in the community, identify effective practices and potential gaps in provider and patient communication, and provide peer-to-peer learning and resources for increased awareness and best practices in multidisciplinary care for patients with CLL.
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Multidisciplinary Multiple Myeloma Care

Guided by an expert Advisory Committee, this ACCC education project provides support to multidisciplinary cancer care teams in diagnosing, testing, and treating patients with multiple myeloma. This project serves to:

  • raise awareness about provider education needs related to this patient population;
  • provide vetted, designated resources for unmet education needs; and
  • establish a network of multidisciplinary team members with interest and expertise in caring for patient with multiple myeloma.

Through this project, a new ACCC publication, Multidisciplinary Multiple Myeloma Care: Models of Effective Care Delivery, provides a summary of recent updates in myeloma management, along with profiles that describe how three cancer programs—a community-based comprehensive program, an academic medical center, and an NCI-designated program—are delivering multidisciplinary care to this patient population.
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Transplant Treatment Path

The ACCC education project, The Transplant Treatment Path: Optimizing Patient-Centered Care for ASCT in Multiple Myeloma, explores steps for improving provider communication to optimize the treatment of multiple myeloma patients in the community cancer center pre- and post-autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT).
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