Leukemias are cancers of the blood cells. These blood cancers typically begin in your bone marrow, where your blood cells develop.

At Valley’s Center for Blood Disorders, our hematologic oncology team specializes in treating all types of leukemias and related disorders such as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Through our oncology partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System, you’ll also have access to clinical trials and innovative treatments for leukemia. And you’ll have it all right here in your own community.

Leukemia Symptoms

Signs of leukemia include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Fevers and chills
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent infections
  • Pale skin
  • Red spots on the skin

A hematologist/oncologist (a doctor who specializes in blood cancers) can help you understand the cause of your symptoms.

Sometimes, leukemia doesn’t cause symptoms. Instead, the first sign may be an irregular result from a routine blood test. In this case, your primary care doctor may refer you to a hematologist/oncologist for further testing.

Types of Leukemia

There are several types of leukemias, and they are all handled differently. In fact, not all are life-threatening. Leukemia can also be acute, which means it develops quickly. Or, leukemia can be chronic, which means it develops slowly.

At Valley, we specialize in treating all types of leukemia. When you come to Valley, we’ll start by determining the type of leukemia you have — and we’ll put together your care plan from there.

Some of the more common leukemias and related conditions we diagnose and treat include:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)
  • Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)
  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

Leukemia Diagnosis at Valley

When you come to Valley’s Center for Blood Disorders, we will explore every angle to determine what’s causing your symptoms or irregular test results. We’ll get you answers so you can put your mind at ease and begin treatment quickly if needed.

After taking a thorough history, your hematologist/oncologist may recommend one or more of the following tests to determine the cause of your symptoms:

  • Blood tests, which can check for irregularities in your blood cells 
  • Imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) or Positron Emission Tomography/CT fusion (PET/CT) assess extent of disease
  • Bone marrow biopsy, which uses a needle to take a small sample of your bone marrow
  • Next-generation sequencing (NGS), which may help further characterize your leukemia and may help determine the best treatment course.

Your team at Valley includes hematologists, pathologists and other specialists who work together to accurately diagnose your leukemia, where appropriate. We’ll also discuss your case with blood cancer specialists at Mount Sinai Health System.

Kessoon's Story


Kessoon is a Valley patient who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and received her care from Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care. She was diagnosed in 2019 and had an outstanding experience with the entire team of doctors and staff who treated her.

Read Her Story

Leukemia Treatment

Your treatment plan may include one or more options based on your type of leukemia, overall health and specific needs. These include:


We may recommend chemotherapy to kill cancer cells in your blood. You may receive chemotherapy in the hospital or through our Ambulatory Infusion Center at the Luckow Pavilion.


New immunotherapy drugs use your body’s defense system to fight cancer. You may receive immunotherapy along with chemotherapy for your leukemia.

At Valley, our hematologists/oncologists have expertise in optimizing immunotherapy for the best outcomes. We also understand how to reduce potential side effects from treatment.

Targeted Therapy

Novel therapies that directly block molecular channels that cancer cells rely on have been developed. In many cases, these carry less side effects than chemotherapy.

Bispecific Antibodies

Bispecific antibodies are medicines that “target” certain types of leukemia. Unlike some treatments, bispecific antibodies do not require much preparation time, so you can get treated more quickly.

CAR T-cell Therapy

CAR T-cell therapy (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy) for many types of blood cancers, including some leukemias are available. This treatment modifies part of your immune system to destroy cancer cells. We partner with Mt. Sinai Hospital to administer this.

Stem Cell Transplant

If necessary, our team can also help facilitate a stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant) at the Mount Sinai Health System. These transplants can treat some leukemias.

Fertility Preservation

Some leukemia treatments can affect your ability to have children, whatever your gender. We can coordinate fertility preservation treatments with your leukemia treatments if you want to maintain your fertility options.

Why Choose Valley for Leukemia Care?

  • Experienced diagnostic team: Our hematologists/oncologists work alongside other cancer specialists, including hematopathologists. We also offer second opinions so you can get an accurate diagnosis and start on the right treatment.
  • A partnership for better cancer care: At Valley’s Center for Blood Disorders, you also have blood cancer specialists from the Mount Sinai Health System reviewing your case. Valley’s alliance with Mount Sinai also means you have access to more treatments, including stem cell transplants and CAR-T therapy.
  • Advanced MRD testing: We use advanced minimal residual disease (MRD) tests to show how your body responds to treatment. These tests can also help predict your risk for relapse (having the leukemia return). We then use these tests to adjust your treatment plan to address these risks.
  • Access to clinical trials: Our blood cancer specialists are also researchers who are looking for new ways to treat leukemia. We lead and participate in clinical trials testing the most innovative treatments for leukemia. This could offer you access to treatments that are not yet widely available, right here close to your home.
  • Easy appointment scheduling: Your nurse navigator will arrange all your tests, treatments and doctor appointments. They’ll ensure that you stay informed and cared for at every step of the process. This type of support and coordination can help ease the burden for you, allowing you to focus on getting well. 
  • Helpful support services: Leukemia can affect every aspect of your life. We offer cancer support services to help you cope with the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of treatment.