Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Specialists who treat blood disorders and other kinds of cancer are either hematologists or hematologist-oncologists. These specialists treat leukemia.
Children are usually treated by a specialist in childhood cancers (pediatric hematologist or hematologist-oncologist).
On other occasions, more than one opinion may be sought by the patient or by
the referring primary care physician. In acute leukemia, the disease can change
swiftly and time for further opinions may be limited. In chronic leukemia, there
is often time, unless severe symptoms are present at the time of diagnosis.
Leukemia patients often find it helpful to take a family member or close friend along to these consultations in order to take notes and assist in remembering some of the points of the discussion.
Most patients are treated in the offices of hematologist-oncologists, or in major medical centers with state-of-the-art cancer treatment programs.
Once the patient has had the first encounter with the specialist, he or she will have ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss treatment options. The advantages and disadvantages of various treatment options are thoroughly discussed.
Leukemia treatment depends almost exclusively on the type. Modifying factors may be age, overall health, and prior therapy. Treatment is almost always carried out as part of carefully controlled multi-center programs so that information from many different areas may be constantly analyzed and altered if the results appear to necessitate changes. The patient is always kept abreast of ongoing treatment activities and changes in the treatment plan.
Treatment commences only if the patient or the patient's guardian concurs.
In addition to the blood specialist, the patient's medical care team usually includes a specialist nurse or physician assistant, social worker (and for children, child-life worker), and sometimes a member of the clergy, all of whom play major roles in furthering well being.