Myeloproliferative neoplasms

Overview

Myeloproliferative disorders are a group of diseases that affect blood cell formation. In all forms of myeloproliferative disorders, a bone marrow problem leads to increased levels of blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Among these diseases are chronic myeloid leukemia, polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia and myelofibrosis.  

Our approach

The Northwell Health approach to treating myeloproliferative neoplasms at the Hematologic Oncology Center, part of Northwell Health Cancer Institute, draws from the skills of a team of physicians, clinical investigators, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and pathologists. Regionally and nationally recognized experts use the latest technology and research-backed therapies to treat all types of myeloproliferative neoplasms, also known as myeloproliferative diseases, and have extensive experience diagnosing and treating all types and stages of these rare blood disorders.

Highlights of myeloproliferative neoplasms treatments and services at the Hematologic Oncology Center include:

  • Innovative approaches to delivering chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapies that identify and attack cancer cells 
  • Advanced therapies from the Supportive Oncology and Pain Management Center to help reduce fatigue, alleviate pain and improve quality of life 
  • Renowned FACT-accredited bone marrow/stem cell transplantation program offering both autologous and allogeneic transplants

Multidisciplinary Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Treatment

Within the first several days of a visit, the multidisciplinary team will conduct comprehensive tests and develop a personalized cancer treatment program for each patient’s type of myeloproliferative neoplasm. Each myeloproliferative neoplasms diagnosis is unique, so the team meets regularly to discuss each patient’s treatment during weekly multidisciplinary conferences to share ideas and best practices for delivering collaborative patient care for each type of myeloproliferative neoplasm. The specialists review each treatment phase to constantly improve care and ensure treatment milestones are reached. 

From diagnosis through treatment and pain management therapy, each patient is in the capable hands of experts every step of the way. 

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever or frequent infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling very tired and weak
  • Abdominal pain due to enlargement of the liver and/or spleen
  • Pale skin
  • Easy bruising or bleeding

Be aware that these symptoms could be due to conditions other than myeloproliferative disorders, so it’s best to see a doctor right away.

Diagnosis

The first step to making a myeloproliferative neoplasms diagnosis is usually a physical exam and a review of personal and family medical history. If myeloproliferative neoplasms are suspected, the patient will undergo additional tests.  

Specialists use a variety of procedures and tests to deliver an accurate myeloproliferative neoplasms diagnosis as well as to determine the stage of the cancer (how far the cancer has spread). 

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) — This basic blood test is performed to see if the numbers of various types of blood cells — white, red and platelets — are within normal ranges.
  • Peripheral Blood Smear — A sample of blood is checked to determine the shape, number and kinds of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, as well as the presence of blast cells (new, immature blood cells).
  • Bone Marrow Aspiration (Examination) — A sample of bone marrow, blood and a small piece of bone are removed by inserting a hollow needle into the hipbone or breastbone. A pathologist views the samples under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.
  • Cytogenetic Analysis — A sample of blood or bone marrow is viewed under a microscope to look for certain changes in the chromosomes.
  • Molecular Genetic Analysis — Some of the myeloproliferative neoplasms have genetic changes that can be detected using sensitive techniques and used to guide therapy.

Staging

Unlike many cancers, there is no staging of myeloproliferative disorders. Treatment is based on the specific type of myeloproliferative disorder the patient has. With the data from these state-of-the-art tests for myeloproliferative neoplasms diagnosis, a doctor will develop a customized treatment plan with the best possible outcomes.

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