Leukemia Care

When you have cancer, you need a team of support. A diagnosis of leukemia can feel overwhelming, but you are not alone. We are here for you every step of the way through your journey of diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer treatments have progressed significantly in recent years and survivor rates have increased as a result.

Coordinated Team Approach

We provide coordinated care that includes the latest treatments in surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Each patient is an active partner in his or her care team. Our goal is for patients to be involved in the decisions related to care and to always know the next step.

We want to help you feel healthy again. In addition to the critical medical treatments that you will receive, we offer health and wellness services that treat the whole body and mind to promote physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

Learn more about our leukemia services and what you can expect during your treatment journey. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 231-392-8400 or CancerServices@mhc.net.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. In leukemia, cancerous blood cells develop and crowd out the healthy blood cells.

There are different types of leukemia based on the type of blood cell that becomes cancerous:

  • White blood cells: These are the blood cells that fight infection. Cancer in the white blood cells is the most common type of leukemia and is called acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 

  • Red blood cells: These blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

  • Platelets: These cells clot the blood.

Leukemia is either acute or chronic. Acute leukemia is a fast-growing cancer that typically gets worse quickly. Chronic leukemia is a slower-growing cancer.

Leukemia occurs most often in adults older than 55 years. It is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15 years. The overall rate of leukemia has gradually increased for many years.

Risk Factors

  • Cigarette smoking 

  • Down syndrome

  • Exposure to chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde

  • Family history 

  • Obesity

  • Previous chemotherapy

  • Radiation exposure 

  • Working in the rubber industry

Learn More

You can find trusted information about leukemia via the National Cancer Institute.

What to Expect


Cancer treatment begins with a diagnosis. Through testing, your care team will determine your type of cancer. These test results will help us develop an individualized treatment plan for you.

We understand that this phase can be very difficult as you are waiting for answers. Our goal is to move you through the diagnostic process as quickly as possible in order to minimize the emotional strain.

Your Treatment Plan

We offer a coordinated approach to care that varies based on your specific needs.

Your case may be discussed at our weekly Tumor Board meetings. This is a multidisciplinary team of physicians and support staff that discusses patients’ care plans and makes recommendations for multiple types of cancer.

After testing and consultations are complete, your oncologist/hematologist will explain to you the type and stage your leukemia and discuss treatment.

Our physicians provide the latest in treatments. When more complex treatments are necessary, we work closely with specialists across the state and nation.

Your treatment plan may include a combination of any one of the following approaches:

  • Chemotherapy – often used to fight leukemia

  • Stem cell transplant, in addition to chemotherapy – an option under appropriate conditions

  • Targeted therapies – effective for certain types of leukemia

Chronic leukemia that is not progressing or causing symptoms may not require treatment.

Learn More about Leukemia Treatment

Health and Wellness at the Cowell Family Cancer Center

We believe that everything matters in cancer treatment.

The Health and Wellness Suite at the Cowell Family Cancer Center offers space for physical, emotional and spiritual healing through integrative therapies, meditation, exercise, nutrition and the arts. 

Services are available for patients, staff, family members, caregivers and the community.

Services include:

Meet Our Team

We have a team of medical oncologists/hematologists who provide diagnosis, and treatment for leukemia.

The Cowell Family Cancer Center Support Team

Our care coordination team is here to support you and includes a nurse and nurse practitioner who will ensure that your next steps are planned and communicated.

Our compassionate team also includes a dietitian, a social worker, palliative/supportive care providers, and financial navigators to ensure that your individual needs are addressed.

For more information regarding Cowell Family Cancer Center services or to be transferred to a regional network facility, call 231-392-8400 and speak with one of our resource specialists.

Availability of support services varies according to the specific regional cancer network location.

Treatment Locations

Depending on the type of leukemia, you may need to stay overnight at Munson Medical Center for treatment. Munson Medical Center has certified oncology nurses to deliver chemotherapy and other treatment according to your individualized treatment plan.

Cowell Family Cancer Center

You can find treatment and resources for leukemia at our Cowell Family Cancer Center on the Munson Medical Center campus in Traverse City. This state-of-the-art cancer center opened in 2016 and provides most cancer services including diagnosis, treatment, integrative therapies, follow-up, and supportive care.

Clinical Trials for Leukemia

Clinical trials are studies that involve people and are the final research step in a long process that begins with lab research. You may want to consider participating in a clinical trial.

Depending on the clinical trial, part of your care may need to occur in Traverse City.

We have participated in cancer clinical trials for more than 30 years through the National Cancer Institute. This program offers our patients the chance to participate in large, national research trials while remaining at home in northern Michigan.

To learn more about clinical trials for leukemia, visit these websites or talk to your doctor: