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The LLS Blog

Read about survivors, research, fundraising and advocacy.

Diagnosed with a Blood Cancer? Important Questions You Might Not Think to Ask

By LLS Staffer |

What is my actual diagnosis? Find out your exact diagnosis. Ask your doctor to write down the exact name of your sub-type and take the paper with you. For example, knowing you have “a B-cell lymphoma” isn’t good enough. Follicular and diffuse large B-cell are both B-cell lymphomas but with very different prognoses and treatment plans. Leukemia also has different sub-types. Knowing your specific sub-type helps you understand what disease you are dealing with, how aggressive it is, and what to expect from treatment. You can also contact The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Information Resource Center  to ask about appropriate clinical trials or to be connected with a survivor who has been treated for the same disease.

Is doing nothing really an option? It may sound crazy to hear a doctor tell you to just “watch and wait” but for certain blood cancers that can really be the recommended treatment plan. Some patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, indolent non-Hodgkin lymphomas, or in the early stages of some other blood cancers, can go for years with no treatment at all as long as no other issues arise. However, it would still be important for you to continue to go for regular visits to be monitored by your doctor.