Hematology, the study and treatment of blood disorders, is usually divided into malignant and non-malignant diseases. At Diablo Valley Oncology / Hematology Medical Group our physicians have expertise in treating both types of illness. Cancer medicine and blood medicine are usually treated by the same physicians because, back in the 1950′s and 1960′s, the first medically treatable cancer was leukemia, a blood disease cared for by hematologists (internists who treat blood disorders). Over the years oncology has developed into its own specialty, but hematologists remain at that forefront of administering treatment to patients with malignant blood disorders, as well as benign illnesses. We have board certified hematologists who enjoy seeing the full range of blood disorders.
Malignant blood diseases encompass a wide range of leukemias, both acute and chronic; lymphomas, ranging from low grade to aggressive; and a variety of other diseases, including myelodysplasia, Polycythemia Vera, Multiple Myeloma, and others. These illnesses require expertise both for diagnosis and treatment. While many other hematology and oncology specialists refer these patients to distant university settings, we at Diablo Valley Oncology / Hematology Medical Group feel these patients are best treated locally. We are comfortable with all of these disease manifestations and are up-to-date on the most current therapies. We often enroll these patients in clinical trials, allowing them access to experimental therapies when needed. Our physicians have been treating these diseases for over twenty years. While at times, we do refer to the universities for very specialized treatments such as bone marrow transplants, we feel that most patients are better served when treated in their community, with family and our supportive staff immediately available.
Benign blood disorders usually manifest as abnormalities in the complete blood count (CBC). More specifically, patients usually develop a low hemoglobin (anemia), a low white blood count (neutropenia), or low platelets (thrombocytopenia). Other types of benign blood disorders involve abnormalities in the clotting system, which can result in too much clotting (a hypercoagualble state) or not enough clotting (a bleeding disorder). Hypercoaguable state research has been a rapidly progressing field, because of its impacts on obstetrics, in terms of unexplained miscarriages, as well as its impacts on stroke and heart attack patients. Hematologists often see patients with these types of abnormalities (which may appear to be unrelated to blood disorders), and are instrumental in the diagnosis and treatment of the underlying pathology. To assist in diagnosis, a procedure called a bone marrow aspirate and biopsy is sometimes necessary. We have performed hundreds of these procedures, and patients often comment that the procedure was surprisingly simple and straightforward, especially if they have had a previous experience elsewhere. Our nurse practitioners take extra time to provide the utmost in patient comfort during the procedure, which usually takes less than ten minutes. If you have been diagnosed with a benign (or malignant) blood disorder, please contact us for a second opinion, or further evaluation.