I’m Seeing a Local Hematologist | Should I Consider a CLL Specialist?


Jeff Folloder, Moderator and CLL patient advocate


Dr. Nitin Jain, Associate Professor in the Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Experts responded to listener questions during our January 13, 2023 virtual town hall. Watch the full webinar here.

I have a question for Dr. Jain. You and Dr. Wierda and Dr. Keating, you’re all CLL specialists, and many of us are fortunate enough to be able to be seen by CLL specialists. How would you recommend someone who doesn’t have access to a CLL specialist who’s working with a local hematologist/oncologist – how does that type of doctor work with a CLL specialist?
Dr. Jain:          
Well, I mean, I think, I would certainly advise that you should see a CLL specialist maybe at least for initial consultation. You know, many of the patients who may be listening maybe are in the early stage of the disease where it’s just watch and wait, and they’re just being monitored every three months or every six months. And in that situation, I think, you know, it’s still maybe a good idea to go to a center – a CLL-specific center, like our center. And there are many of them in the United States – and at least get initial advice in what kind of genomic markers you have and then what kind of treatments are available when you need treatment.
But I think it especially becomes important when the time for treatment has arrived. And if your local oncologist has recommended some kind of a treatment, I strongly recommend at that time to at least go to a CLL center, whether you’re not maybe wanting to relocate there or move there to do the treatment. But at least be advised to see what is the best available therapy – FDA-approved therapy – which your local doctor, your community doctor can give to you, versus what clinical trials the center may have available. I think it’s certainly worth a visit when you’re deciding on starting a treatment.
Whether it’s the first treatment for the disease or you had a prior therapy and now your disease is coming back, and your doctor is recommending a second or subsequent line of therapy. But we are very open, and we work very closely with local physicians just in our practice. We see patients from all over the U.S., so we work very closely with local physicians in terms of correspondence back and forth. Most of the local physicians are very appreciative of our involvement and kind of helping the patients out.

Related Posts