Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a disease in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (also called CML or chronic granulocytic leukemia) is a slowly progressing blood and bone marrow disease that usually occurs during or after middle age, and rarely occurs in children.
In CML, too many blood stem cells become a type of white blood cell called granulocytes. These granulocytes are abnormal and do not become healthy white blood cells. They are also called leukemia cells. The leukemia cells can build up in the blood and bone marrow so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. When this happens, infection, anemia, or easy bleeding may occur.
Signs & Symptoms
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by CML or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Feeling very tired
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Night sweats
- Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs on the left side
Sometimes CML does not cause any symptoms at all.
There are six types of standard treatment. Your OHC doctor will help you determine the best care plan for you.
- Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells
- Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
- Biologic therapy, or immunotherapy, is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer.
- High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant is a method of giving high doses of chemotherapy and replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by the cancer treatment. Stem cells (immature blood cells) are removed from the blood or bone marrow of the patient or a donor and are frozen and stored. After the chemotherapy is completed, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion. These reinfused stem cells grow into (and restore) the body’s blood cells.
- Donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) is a cancer treatment that may be used after stem cell transplant. Lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) from the stem cell transplant donor are removed from the donor’s blood and may be frozen for storage. The donor’s lymphocytes are thawed if they were frozen and then given to the patient through one or more infusions. The lymphocytes see the patient’s cancer cells as not belonging to the body and attack them.
- Splenectomy is surgery to remove the spleen.