Hematology & Medical Oncology
We offer evaluation, treatment and follow-up care for a broad range of cancers by several specialists all in one place, on the same day. Our participation in national clinical trials involving a variety of cancers offers patients promising new treatments for all stages of their disease. We have specific multidisciplinary programs for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, breast cancer, cancers of the head and neck, gastrointestinal cancers and skin cancers.
We offer consultation and treatment for a broad range of benign and malignant conditions, such as hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell anemia and thalassemia), hemochromatosis, bleeding and thrombotic disorders (von Willebrand's disease and hemophilia), hypercoagulable states, myeloproliferative disorders, myelodysplasia and anemia, and malignancies such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
We work closely with the staff of the Transfusion Medicine Service/Blood Bank and have developed innovative techniques for harvesting, storing and re-infusing blood and its components, most notably for autologous peripheral blood stem cell infusion. Apheresis is also available for treatment of a variety of disorders including sickle cell disease, Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia and cryoglobulinemia.
Internationally recognized as a leader in the treatment of AL amyloidosis, the Autologous Stem Cell Transplant Program at Boston Medical Center, in association with the Amyloid Treatment and Research Program, provides a multidisciplinary team approach for patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. We employ autologous peripheral blood stem cell infusion as an alternative to traditional bone marrow transplantation. The procedure has several advantages including it can be done on an outpatient basis or during a short inpatient stay, and it has a lower risk of infection or bleeding.
The Program, under the clinical direction of Vaishali Sanchorawala, MD, maintains accreditation through the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). By the end of 2009, the Program had performed over 600 transplants, of which 83% were for AL amyloidosis. Multiple myeloma accounted for 6% and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 4%. Breast cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma accounted for 1% each, and patients with both multiple myeloma and AL amyloidosis accounted for 3% of the transplants.
Boston Medical Center is an international referral center for the diagnosis and treatment of amyloidosis, a rare group of diseases caused by the abnormal accumulation of the protein amyloid in various parts of the body. Although amyloidosis is not cancer, treatments for it are very similar. We have been successful in using chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation to rid the body of the excess protein and minimize the damage the disease causes to other organs. For more information about our premier program, please visit: www.bu.edu/amyloid.
Our multidisciplinary practice focusing on cancers involving the skin, especially malignant melanoma and cutaneous T cell lymphoma, comprises oncologists, dermatologists and surgeons who work together to offer aggressive treatment for such tumors including biologic therapies with vaccines and interferon. Our dermatologists also treat the less invasive types of skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Mohs micrographic surgery, developed at Boston Medical Center, is an innovative technique used to remove these tumors.
Comprehensive cancer care requires more than a team of physicians and nurses. At the Solomont Center we offer a wide array of support services designed to make your experience here as easy and comfortable as possible.
Access to Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies in which patients help doctors find ways to improve health and health care. Clinical trials can help answer scientific questions and find better ways to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer. Many of today's treatments for cancer are based on the results of past clinical trials. Because of progress made through clinical trials, many people treated for cancer now live longer, and many are cured of their disease. If you are interested in joining a research study, talk to your doctor, nurse or you can call the Clinical Trials Office directly at 617.638.8265. There are research nurses and assistants available to speak with you.
Interpreter services are available 24 hours a day. When you make your appointments, please be sure to tell the front desk if you will need an interpreter. It is helpful if an English-speaking family member comes with you on your first visit. After regular hours, interpreters are available on-call. You can leave a message at the hospital's multi-lingual message center at 800.841.4325.
Dieticians are available to help you with questions during your treatment. Please ask your doctor or nurse about making an appointment. You will be able to speak with the dietitian about healthy eating while you are receiving chemotherapy and when the treatment is over. You can also talk about how to deal with the side effects of your disease or treatment such as nausea, lack of appetite, diarrhea/constipation, difficulty swallowing or weight loss/weight gain issues.
There are two outpatient pharmacies located at Boston Medical Center. One pharmacy is located on the first floor of the Yawkey Ambulatory Care Center (850 Harrison Avenue). The phone number is 617.414.4883. For those patients with McGill or other Free Care prescription programs, this is the pharmacy you will use. The other is located on the first floor of the Doctors Office Building (720 Harrison Avenue). That phone number is 617.638.8132. Once you are a patient at one pharmacy, you cannot switch to the other. We encourage you to drop off your prescription as soon as possible to cut down on the time you will have to wait to have them filled.
During your treatment you may be asked to provide blood and/or urine samples. The laboratory is located in our center for your convenience and your doctor or his/her staff will set up lab appointments for you as needed.
Psychiatry is an important service offered at the Solomont Center for Hematology and Medical Oncology. The psychiatry department can help you and your family members cope with your disease and the different treatments. If you feel it might be helpful for you to talk with a psychiatrist, please talk to your doctor or nurse or call the psychiatry department of 617.638.8670 to make an appointment.
Chaplain/Spiritual Services (Pastoral Care)
Please let your doctor or nurse know if you would like to speak with a chaplain or spiritual counselor, or you may contact the Pastoral Care Office directly at 617.638.6850.
Social work services are available to patients and families for help with many of the needs that arise when dealing with cancer. Trained Clinical Social Workers can provide confidential counseling and psychotherapy to you or members of your family. Experienced Resource Specialists help identify public and private agencies, organizations and businesses that handle other needs you may have such as obtaining transportation, prostheses, hospital equipment, home care, health insurance, housing, etc. Please ask your doctor or nurse about these services or call the Social Work Department directly at 617.638.6830.
There are many national and local support groups available for patients with cancer and their families. At the Solomont Center for Hematology and Medical Oncology we sponsor a number of support groups for patients with specific conditions. These groups usually meet once per month. Please speak with your nurse to obtain more information.