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Hematology

Hematology is a medical specialty relating to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the blood, including blood cancer. These blood diseases may affect the white blood cells, red blood cells, bone marrow, platelets or lymph nodes.

Compassionate care for blood and hematological disorders

Healthy blood function means a healthier body.

Blood disorders affect your ability to fight infection, heal wounds and absorb oxygen. In the Mission Health family of hospitals, our hematology specialists across Western North Carolina work to understand your unique condition to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan for you.

Services and treatments for blood disorders

When blood conditions are affecting your life, our hematology programs provide education, as well as diagnosis, treatment, supportive care and survivorship planning.

Treatments for blood disorders

To effectively treat a blood disorder, your care team may employ one or a combination of noninvasive treatments. Your enacted method of treatment will be entirely based on your individual condition, but our goal is always the same — ensure that your blood is pumping through your body the way that it should, with uninterrupted, healthy cell production. Treatments we use include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Targeted drug therapy

Rapid access anemia management clinic

Depending on your location, our hospitals also provide access to a rapid access anemia management clinic. This service ensures expedited diagnosis and treatment for when you have either a suspected or recurrent iron deficiency, preoperative anemia or anemia caused by chronic renal insufficiency.

Located at Mission Medical Oncology in Asheville, we promptly schedule appointments within 24-to-48 hours, and initiate timely therapeutic interventions. We work alongside surgeons, gastroenterologists, gynecologists and other specialists to deliver a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to anemia treatment, with services, such as:

  • Bone marrow examination
  • ESA administration
  • Follow-up care
  • Intravenous iron
  • Supplementary laboratory evaluation
  • Transfusion

For more information about our anemia clinic, call directly as (828) 253-4262.

Understanding the varieties of blood disorders

Serious blood conditions occur when there are issues with the function and production of your red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. Red blood cells transport oxygen to your organs and tissues, white blood cells help your body fight infections, while platelets help your blood to clot. Though some disorders are easier to combat, some are more serious, such as blood cancers.

Regardless of the severity of your condition, our hematology programs are comprised of dedicated hematologists, who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of blood, bone marrow and lymphatic diseases. When working you, our priority is personalizing our care practices so your condition can be treated for the unique one that it is.

Red blood cell disorders

When there are deficiencies or abnormalities in your red blood cells, this can most often lead to anemia. Arguably the most common blood disorder, anemia occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells in your body is too low. The most common cause of anemia is not having enough iron, but it can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, renal insufficiency, liver disease, hemolysis, chronic inflammatory conditions, as well as primary bone marrow pathology. Anemia can not only result in a reduced overall quality of life, but increased risk of complications during surgical procedures.

White blood cell disorders

While not the case for all white blood cell disorders, most are typically cancerous. White blood cell disorders we treat include:

  • Leukemia – This type of blood cancer occurs when your bone marrow creates abnormal white blood cells that grow concerningly fast, replacing healthy cells. This can cause anemia, bleeding and infection, as well as external physical symptoms, such as swelling or pain. Leukemia can be acute, which progresses quickly and causes illness, or chronic, which may not show symptoms for extended periods. This causes four types of leukemia:
    • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    • Acute myelogenous leukemia
    • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
    • Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Lymphoma – Lymphoma is a cancer that arises in your lymph nodes, or other lymphoid tissue. Lymphocytes are the white blood cells that fight infection, and when abnormal lymphocytes begin spreading, your immune system can be seriously affected. There are two types of lymphomas — Hodgkin's, which affects around 9,000 people in the U.S. each year, and Non-Hodgkin's, which affects close to 82,000 people.
  • Myelodysplasia – Myelodysplasia encompasses a group of disorders, known as myelodysplastic syndromes, which block your bone marrow from producing healthy cells that reach full maturation. When this happens, you can be susceptible to anemia, infection and uncontrollable bleeding.
  • Myelofibrosis – Also known as agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, myelofibrosis is a chronic disease that occurs when you have accumulated fibrous material in your bone marrow, are experiencing anemia or you have developed an enlarged spleen.
  • Myeloma – This type of cancer forms in your plasma, white blood cells that produce disease- and infection-fighting antibodies. When myeloma inhibits your body's antibody production, you can be left unprotected from infection and subject to contracting serious disease.

Clotting disorders

Also known as coagulation disorders, these happen when there are problems affecting clotting factors. They can lead to excessive bleeding or excessive clotting, and include:

  • Hemophilia – This rare bleeding disorder occurs when your blood doesn't clot properly.
  • Hypercoagulable states – These are inherited abnormalities that increase your risk of developing a blood clot.
  • Von Willebrand disease – This is a hereditary disease categorized by a deficiency of the von Willebrand factor. This factor affects platelet function, and often leads to excessive bleeding.

Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis occurs when excess iron is absorbed and can build up in organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas. Untreated, it can result in diabetes, heart disease and liver failure.

Platelet disorders

Platelet disorders are related to platelet function or number; meaning, having too few, too many, or abnormal platelets. Disorders we treat include:

  • Essential thrombocytosis – A disorder in which platelets are overproduced, which can lead to both blood clotting and bleeding.
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) – This condition occurs when your body is not producing enough platelets, leading to excess bleeding and easy bruising.

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