A Guide to Palliative Care for Leukemia and Lymphoma Patients

doctor and patient

The treatment of leukemia and lymphoma comes with significant side effects for patients. Leukemia is a disease that manifests in one’s bone marrow while lymphoma is present in the lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, and it affects the cells of the immune system. These two types of blood cancer each affect the body in different ways, but patient management can be aided by palliative care.

Palliative care can support the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma patients. If someone you love is in need of care for these conditions, read on to know how you can find a hospice in California.


Leukemia is a disease that causes the body to produce too many abnormal white blood cells. Produced by the bone marrow, the white blood cells end up outnumbering healthy blood cells. This leads to lower levels of healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and even platelets. 

Leukemia symptoms include

  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue 
  • Weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Frequent infections
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Spontaneous bruising or bleeding
  • Bleeding under the skin

Slow-growing leukemia can be monitored over time, and emerging symptoms can be treated. For aggressive leukemia, treatment would be through chemotherapy, radiation, and stem-cell transplants.


This disease starts in the immune system and is usually found in lymph nodes and lymphocytes. Lymphoma has two main types:

  1. Hodgkin lymphoma affects a specific type of abnormal B cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. Common symptoms include:
  • Lump under the skin (neck, armpit, or groin)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Itching
  • Alcohol sensitivity
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  1. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the more common type that starts on the immune system’s B or T cells. Common symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Cough
  • Chest pain

Treatment options for both types of lymphoma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant, and drug therapy. 

Palliative Care as Support to Medical Treatment

A palliative care team consists of many professionals that provide everything a patient needs at this stage of their disease. Nurses and medical professionals manage symptoms and side effects of the treatment, while social workers and therapists provide support through counseling and administrative resources.

The palliative care team aims to cover other problems that arise during a patient’s treatment. For example, a patient can experience physical discomfort or depression. A patient might also not be able to understand specific details of their treatment. Palliative care teams are committed to addressing these concerns effectively and compassionately.

Unlike hospice care, palliative care can start soon as a patient receives their diagnosis. The patient does not need to be terminal or nearing the end of their life.


Palliative care indeed bridges the gaps that are often found in medical treatment. As for patients who have leukemia or lymphoma, palliative care is an option they can receive right away. A palliative care team will assist patients with symptom management and the education and resources they need to remain strong and healthy throughout their long treatment regimen. 

Are you looking for homecare in California? Bridge Home Health and Hospice caters to leukemia and lymphoma patients and all who need licensed clinical support. Our trained clinicians and therapists are more than happy to help patients live better lives during treatment. You can reach us at (800) 476-0043.