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
Methodist Healthcare Cancer Network's oncologists and hematologists are highly trained to diagnose and treat all types of blood cancer. Hematology is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the blood and bone marrow as well as of the immunologic, hemostatic (blood clotting) and vascular systems. We believe in providing patients in San Antonio with a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, giving each patient a personalized treatment plan.
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.
We are the leading provider of cancer treatment services in South Texas. 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.
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 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:
- High fever
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Frequent infections
- Night sweats
- Bruising easily
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:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble breathing
- High fever
- Significant weight loss
The last type of blood cancer is myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are important immune cells that protect your body from infections and diseases by producing powerful antibodies. Any form of myeloma creates abnormal plasma cells that produce harmful proteins that can cause kidney problems and shut down the body’s immune system.
Symptoms of myeloma include:
- Bone pain
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 transfusion
- Blood and marrow transplant
- CAR T-cell immunotherapy
Blood and marrow transplant program
Methodist Healthcare offers extensive blood and marrow transplant, also called bone marrow, services throughout San Antonio. We have designated pediatric and adult clinics, so our patients can always receive the specialized care they need.
A bone 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 is a new therapy that programs a patient’s immune system to recognize and fight cancer. The immune system is responsible for ridding the body of abnormal cells that are foreign (like cancer) or infected.
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.
Here’s how it works:
- First, a patient’s white blood cells are collected through a process called apheresis.
- Then, the T-cells are isolated from other blood cells.
- T-cells are then modified in a special facility to program them to recognize the cancer cells, which can be thought of as “fighter” T-cells.
- Lastly, the new “fighter” T-cells are re-infused into the patient to target and kill the cancer.
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.
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.