The treatment you receive for your blood cancer depends on many factors, including your age, overall health, the type of blood cancer you have, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body.
The main treatment approaches for blood cancer include therapies, stem cell transplants, and watch and wait.
If you are newly diagnosed, visit our Newly Diagnosed section to learn more about coping with your diagnosis, choosing a treatment provider, preparing for your first appointment, and getting a second opinion.
Therapies are used to destroy cancer cells. Your doctor may use a combination of therapies to treat your cancer. Therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, are often used in combination with a stem cell transplant.
For therapies and other treatments specific to the different types of blood cancer, visit our disease-specific webpages:
Stem cell transplants
Stem cell transplants are used to replace stem cells when the bone marrow has been destroyed by disease, chemotherapy, or radiation. Depending on where the stem cells come from, the transplant procedure may be called a bone marrow transplant, a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, or a cord blood transplant. Learn more about stem cell transplants.
Watch and wait
Some types of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes do not require immediate treatment. Patients that feel well, have no or mild symptoms, and whose blood cell counts are only slightly abnormal can be regularly monitored by their doctor for months or years until the illness changes and treatment is considered necessary. This is called "watch and wait," "active surveillance," or "watchful waiting."
Evidence shows treating the disease in the early stages doesn’t offer any benefit to the patient. This approach also spares patients from unwanted effects of treatment, with some even avoiding treatment altogether.