Essential Thrombocythemia

Diagnosis and Treatment of Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)
Essential thrombocythemia is a chronic form of leukemia where patients’ bone marrow makes too many platelets. The excess platelets increase the risk of blot clots which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. The disease most commonly affects people over age 50, but also affects children in rare cases.

Information about childhood leukemia can be found at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, which has excellent programs and physicians.

Stanford Expertise
When you are being treated for cancer you want a physician who is familiar with your particular disease. Yet essential thrombocythemia is rare and it can be difficult to find a doctor who has treated patients with the disease. Our specialists at the Cancer Center not only treat essential thrombocythemia, but are considered some of the world-leaders in treating leukemia and offer the most advanced diagnostic technologies and treatments available today.

A Personalized, Team Approach
Patients with essential thrombocythemia are evaluated and treated in Stanford's Hematology clinic by a team of world-renowned faculty. We offer state-of-the-art chemotherapy protocols for leukemia and Stanford hematologists have helped develop the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for the management of hematologic malignancies. Our goal is to improve the survival and quality of life of patients.

There is no definitive test for essential thrombocythemia. Instead it is diagnosed by physician expertise at eliminating other possible causes of the signs and symptoms of the disease. By putting your care in the hands of the leukemia experts at the Cancer Center, you can be confident in your diagnosis.
hands and feet (erythromelalgia).

Anagrelide is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for essential thrombocythemia. It works by decreasing the number of platelets. No other medicines (compounds) are approved by the FDA to treat this disease. However, some medicines approved for other diseases are used to treat the signs and symptoms of this condition. These medicines may not be effective for everyone and may have some side effects.

Hydroxyurea is often used in essential thrombocythemia in people at risk for clotting problems
Another option is a medicine called "interferon." Younger women of childbearing age are often treated with interferon because it hasn't been shown to cause birth defects