Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia is a cancer of white blood cells called myeloid cells.
It is a slow-growing type of blood cancer. The bone marrow, where the blood cells are made, produces too many immature myeloid cells which do not work properly.
It often does not cause any symptoms at the early stage, and may be found when investigating for something else.
Some symptoms that can occur include
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Abdominal tenderness or discomfort, especially on the left side
- Feeling full after eating and reduced appetite
In order to confirm a diagnosis of CML, blood tests have to be sent away to look for certain abnormalities. In most cases, patients with CML have a genetic change resulting in a chromosome called the Philadelphia Chromosome.
Treatment for CML is with oral medications called Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors. These are taken for life, and in many cases result in a normal life-expectancy.
Some people need to have a different drug first, to reduce the white blood count, before starting on their TKI.
Once established on the treatment, the patient will undergo regular blood monitoring to ensure that the drug is working correctly.
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