Consultant Haematologist in Birmingham, UK
Consultant Haemato-Oncologist London

Treatments You May Receive

Please select from the folowing:

- Chemotherapy
- Lumbar Puncture
- Radiotherapy - Monoclonal Antibody Therapy


Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells (including leukaemia and lymphoma). There are over 50 different chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs can stop cancer cells dividing and reproducing themselves. Some are given on their own, but often several drugs are given together (combination chemotherapy). Chemotherapy may also be used with other types of treatment such as surgery, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapies, or a combination of these.

The type of chemotherapy treatment given depends on:

  • The type of haematological malignancy you have
  • The stage of disease
  • Your age and physical fitness

With some cancers, chemotherapy may destroy all cancerous cells and cure the disease.
It can also be given to shrink and control a cancer to help reduce symptoms and prolong life.

Chemotherapy is usually given as a series of sessions of treatment. Depending on the type of haematological malignancy patients may be admitted to hospital for treatment (usually for patients with acute leukaemia and more aggressive types of lymphoma) or it may be given as a day case in the Oncology centre. Each session is followed by a rest period. Each session of chemotherapy destroys more of the cancer cells, and the rest period allows the normal cells and tissues to recover.

Lumbar puncture

A lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal tap) is a procedure used to take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the spinal canal so that it can be tested. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. It helps to support and protect the brain and spinal cord from trauma.

The CSF is tested because it is in close contact with the brain. Analysing it helps doctors find out how the brain may be affected by conditions such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The spinal canal is the passageway through the back bones (vertebrae) which contains the spinal cord.

A hollow needle is inserted into the lower part of the spinal canal to draw out the CSF. Usually only a few millilitres are taken. The procedure is carried out under a local anaesthetic

The procedure is very safe and takes place routinely without complications.

A lumbar puncture is carried out to determine if leukaemia or lymphoma has infiltrated the spinal fluid or brain.

A lumbar puncture can also be used to give chemotherapy drugs. This is mainly for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and some patients with non Hodgkins lymphoma.


Radiotherapy uses high energy X-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat disease.

Some patients with haematological malignancies (usually lymphoma and myeloma) will have radiotherapy as part of their treatment. This is given from outside the body using X-rays.

Radiotherapy works by destroying the cancer cells in the treated area. Although normal cells can also be damaged by the radiotherapy, they can usually repair themselves. Radiotherapy treatment can cure some cancers and can also reduce the chance of a cancer coming back after chemotherapy. It may be used to reduce cancer symptoms.

Radiotherapy is often given with the aim of destroying a tumour and curing the cancer.

Radiotherapy may be used on its own or may be given before or after surgery or chemotherapy. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be given at the same time.

Sometimes, when it's not possible to cure a cancer, radiotherapy may be given to relieve symptoms – for example, to reduce pain.

Far less commonly, high doses of radiotherapy may be given to people who are having a stem cell transplant as part of their treatment. Radiation may be given to the whole body to destroy the cells of the bone marrow. Very high doses of chemotherapy are also given. Stem cells by a drip are then given into a vein, to replace the bone marrow that has been destroyed.

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

A monoclonal antibody is a laboratory-produced molecule that is engineered to attach to specific defects in cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies mimic the antibodies the body naturally produces as part of our immune system's response to germs, vaccines etc.

The most commonly used monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of haematological malignancy is Rituximab (Mabthera) an antiCD20 antibody which binds to a specific protein CD20 only found on the surface of B lymphocytes. Certain types of lymphoma arise from these B cells. When Rituximab attached to the CD20 on the B lymphocytes it makes the cells more visible to the immune system, which can then attack. Rituximab lowers the number of B cells including healthy B cells, but the body produces new healthy B cells to replace these. The cancerous B cells are less likely to recur.

Deliver radiation to cancer cells

By combining a radioactive particle to a monoclonal antibody, radiation can be delivered directly to the cancer cells. This way, most of the surrounding healthy cells will not be damaged. Radiation-linked monoclonal antibodies deliver a lower level of radiation over a longer period of time.

Ibritumomab (Zevalin) is a monoclonal antibody combined with radioactive particles, and is a treatment option for some patients with B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

NHS Patients

Centre for Clinical Haematology
Main Drive
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Birmingham B15 2TH

Angel Woodcock
Tel: 0(44) 121 371 4383
Fax: 0(44) 121 414 9913
Email Click Here

Private Patients

Priory Hospital
Priory Road Edgbaston Birmingham B5 7UG
Tel: 0(44) 121 446 1760
Fax: 0(44) 121 446 1764


Sheena Collins
Tel: 0(44) 121 371 3599 or
Mob: 0796 322 087
Email Click Here

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