COVID-19 update for moderately to severely immunocompromised patients


CDC guidance now recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised patients receive an additional (third) dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). If you have undergone anti-cancer therapy in the past year, you are within 1 year of stem cell transplantation or are receiving medications that suppress your immune system, you are encouraged to obtain a third COVID-19 vaccination shot. If you received the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccination, please consult your doctor regarding next steps. You can schedule an appointment at any community vaccination site.

If you are within 100 days of a stem cell transplantation, we do not recommend that you receive a COVID-19 vaccination until you are cleared by your care team to do so. If you are currently on a clinical research trial, please contact your clinical research team for more guidance. Please contact your care coordinator if you have additional questions about receiving an additional COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Adult and pediatric blood cancer treatment in San Antonio, Texas

As the leading provider of cancer treatment services in South Texas, we believe in providing patients in San Antonio with a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, giving each patient a personalized treatment plan. Through clinical excellence and cutting-edge research, Methodist Healthcare has partnered with Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute to redefine cancer care across the U.S. and UK. Methodist Healthcare Cancer Network’s oncologists and hematologists are highly trained to diagnose and treat all types of blood cancer.

To schedule an appointment, call the Adult Blood Cancer and Stem Cell Transplant Clinic at (210) 575-7800 or the Methodist Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Center at (210) 575-2222.

Types of blood cancer we treat

There are three main types of blood cancer, with each one greatly affecting the body’s ability to properly function: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer typically found in blood and bone marrow. This cancer causes a rapid creation of white blood cells. These abnormal white blood cells are called leukemia cells and typically grow at an accelerated rate compared to a healthy white blood cell.

The rapid production of unnecessary white blood cells prevents infected bone marrow from being able to produce the right amount of red blood cells and platelets. As the cancer progresses, leukemia cells can crowd out the healthy blood cells, causing serious health complications such as anemia (when the body does not have enough red blood cells to provide enough oxygen to the tissues throughout the body).

Symptoms of leukemia include:

  • Bruising easily
  • Frequent infections
  • High fever
  • Night sweats
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Lymphoma

Unlike leukemia, lymphoma affects the lymphatic system's ability to function properly. The lymphatic system is responsible for the production of immunity cells, called lymphocytes or white blood cells.

Additionally, the lymphatic system helps with the removal of excess fluids from your body. As the cancer progresses, the lymphatic system produces cancerous forms of lymphocyte cells called lymphoma cells. These cells ultimately impair the immune system.

Symptoms of lymphoma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • High fever
  • Significant weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Trouble breathing

Myeloma

The last type of blood cancer is myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are important immune cells protecting your body from infections and diseases by producing powerful antibodies. Any form of myeloma creates abnormal plasma cells producing harmful proteins that can cause kidney problems and shut down the body’s immune system.

Symptoms of myeloma include:

  • Bone pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Blood cancer treatment options

Treatment options for blood cancer will vary upon the stage of your cancer and the type of blood cancer you have. Treatments at Methodist Healthcare may include:

Blood and marrow transplant program

Methodist Healthcare offers extensive blood and marrow transplant, also called bone marrow transplant, services throughout San Antonio. The Sarah Cannon Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program at Methodist Hospital and The Pediatric Sarah Cannon Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program at Methodist Children’s Hospital have designated adult and pediatric clinics, so our patients can always receive the specialized care they need.

A blood and marrow transplant may be used to restore the health of a patient's marrow following intensive cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.

CAR T-cell immunotherapy

CAR T-cell immunotherapy programs a patient’s immune system to recognize and fight cancer. The immune system is responsible for ridding the body of foreign or infected abnormal cells.

T-lymphocytes (T-cells) are a type of cell responsible for killing abnormal cells. During the CAR T-cell treatment process, T-cells are drawn from a patient's blood and genetically modified to recognize the patient’s cancer cells when reinfused.

A patient’s perspective

About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

Methodist Healthcare is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally-trusted care with the support of a globally-recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially-trained nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (210) 507-0941 or chat online at askSARAH.