Hematological disorders cover a wide and complex range of blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia, bleeding and clotting disorders, and cancers of the bone marrow and lymph nodes.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a blood disease or need a diagnosis, we are here to help. Our team practices compassionate care and works to support patients through the mental, emotional, and financial stressors that come with a blood disease diagnosis. Below, you’ll learn what a hematology specialist does and how they can help with your treatment.
What Is a Hematology Specialist?
Your blood has three main cell types:
- Red blood cells: carry oxygen throughout your body.
- White blood cells: fight infections.
- Platelets: help to stop bleeding.
A condition that affects one or more of these processes is a hematological disorder, also called a blood disease. A hematology specialist works to understand and treat blood diseases such as anemia, platelet disorders, bleeding or clotting problems, and cancers of the blood cells such as leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma.
Blood disorders treated by hematologists include:
- Anemia: A lower-than-average number of red blood cells that can be caused by a number of factors, such as iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid deficiency. It may also be brought on by another chronic disease.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): A blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body, typically the legs. These clots can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, and discomfort, and can sometimes lead to clots in the lungs.
- Hemophilia: A bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally, which can lead to excessive bleeding from minor injuries.
- Pulmonary embolism: A blood clot in a lung artery that can cause chest pain, heart palpitations, arrhythmias, and cardiac arrest. Pulmonary embolisms are typically caused by clots that originally form in other places, such as the legs.
- Sickle cell anemia: A genetic disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. These cells have a short life span, and their irregular shape can cause blockages.
- Von Willebrand disease: An inherited bleeding disorder that interferes with your blood’s ability to clot.
- Multiple myeloma: Cancer that begins in plasma cells of the bone marrow, and can lead to kidney problems, anemia, bone fractures, and an increased risk of infections.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Cancer of the lymph nodes, which can present with weight loss, night sweats, and swollen nodules in the neck, armpits, and groin.
- Leukemia: A large group of cancers of the white blood cells, ranging from chronic slower-growing types to acute, more rapidly growing cancers. Certain types of leukemia may not require immediate treatment, while others are treated with aggressive chemotherapy.
Blood Disease Symptoms
Hematological disorders can cause a range of symptoms that often overlap with other chronic diseases. Keep close track of your personal health and symptoms so that you can discuss them with your care providers. Our care teams are here to listen to your concerns and talk through the possible symptoms and solutions for your disease.
- Weight loss
- Pale skin
- Frequent infections
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Chest pain
Hematology Treatment at CHC
At The Cancer & Hematology Centers, we provide world-class healthcare to our patients with the personal touch of a smaller organization. We are the largest physician-owned oncology and hematology practice in Michigan, and our staff is highly specialized in treating complex blood diseases and disorders. We treat both benign and malignant hematologic conditions using state-of-the-art diagnostic tools such as specialized molecular and genetic testing, multidisciplinary tumor boards, and treatment targeted to the individual patient.
Being diagnosed with a hematologic disorder can be an extremely challenging journey. CHC provides a network of support to help our patients navigate the physical, mental, and financial obstacles that an illness can bring.
As part of our belief in compassionate care, CHC has social workers on staff who connect patients and their families to necessary resources, such as financial assistance and support groups. Our care coordinators are available to help you understand your treatment plan and ensure that your experience is as comfortable and seamless as it can be.
CHC also has opportunities for patients to enter clinical trials for hematology. These trials offer patients hope with the latest blood disease therapies while advancing the field of hematology research for the next generation. We are working with START Midwest, which is part of the largest Phase I clinical trial network in the world, to offer trials that have historically only been available at larger academic institutions in major US cities.
There is a wide range of treatment methods for hematological disorders, and our team will discuss the best solutions for you. Care coordinators are also available to help you schedule tests and coordinate the many elements of your treatment plan.
- Blood products: Transfusions of blood, platelets, and certain components of plasma such as immunoglobulins can help reduce the symptoms of blood diseases.
- Immunosuppressives: These drugs are designed to treat certain autoimmune-related blood disorders.
- Chemotherapy: For hematologic disorders that involve cancerous cells, chemotherapy can be given through a vein, by injection, or in pill form.
- Supportive care, including pain management: We employ treatments that reduce pain through procedures and behavioral methods, along with supportive care that includes mental and emotional support.
- Anticoagulants and antithrombotic agents: These medications are used to reduce blood clotting and platelet clumping.
- Bi-specific antibodies, immunotherapy, and stem cell therapies: These are some of the most cutting-edge blood disease treatment methods available, utilizing the body’s own immune system or precursor stem cells to fight cancer.
Our Hematology Team
Our hematology staff has decades of experience and covers many subspecialties in providing care for challenging blood diseases. They believe every patient deserves care that is thoughtful, compassionate, and supportive throughout every stage of their journey.
- Brett Brinker
- Erin Pettijohn
- Colin Hardin
- Andrew Sochacki
- Latha Polavaram
- Frances Wong
- Michael Zakem
Set an Appointment with a Hematology Specialist
For more information, give our office a call at (800) 411-7999. Once a referral has been made, we can schedule an appointment at the office that is closest to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Hematology-Oncology?
Doctors who specifically study cancers of the blood are hematology-oncology specialists. They may specialize in lymphoma, myeloma, or leukemia treatment. CHC specializes in both oncology and hematology, and we have many highly-experienced physicians on staff to treat challenging and complex blood cancers.
What Is Benign Hematology?
A benign hematology disorder is a non-cancerous disease that still affects the blood. Examples of benign hematology include hemophilia, anemia, thalassemia, leukocytosis, and Von Willebrand disease.
Are Blood Disorders Contagious?
While some diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, can be transferred through blood contact, they are separate diseases caused by viruses. Hematological diseases are caused by genetics, side effects of medications, and a lack of proper nutrients such as iron. They are not contagious.