Healthwise: Blood Cancer

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

January 11, 2011

Doctor Mark Prichard is the newest member of the Phillips Cancer Center at Martha Jefferson Hospital. He focuses on medical oncology and hematology, or blood related cancers and disorders.

Prichard says blood diseases like Leukemia and Lymphoma account for 10 to 15 percent of cancer cases. Although there may be fewer people fighting blood cancers, they can be just as serious as malignant solid tumors.

Hematologic cancers may not be as easy to detect as breast and prostate cancer because there are no preventative screenings. Symptoms of hematologic cancers often mimic other medical issues.

“Some common symptoms that are often present when hematologic disorders are diagnosed include unexplained weight loss, unexplained fatigue and new focused pain in the part of your body that you have not previously had,” said Dr. Prichard.

There are many types of effective treatments for patients.

“There are often traditional chemotherapy agents that are used for cancers, but there are other new therapies that have come about in the past 10-15 years that are specific for hematologic cancer,” said Dr. Prichard. "They are not traditional cytotoxic chemo-therapies that one thinks about that often cause hair loss and nausea. There are a wide range of therapies available,” said Dr. Prichard.

While still new to the hospital, Dr. Prichard is bringing with him years of experience. He hopes it will make all the difference to patients at the Phillips Cancer Center.

There are no established preventative screenings for cancers of the blood, so Dr. Prichard emphasizes the importance of routine physicals. You should also be sure to tell your physician about any recent changes in your health.

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