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.
Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that develop into mature blood cells over time. A blood stem cell may become a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. The lymphoid stem cell develops into a white blood cell. The myeloid stem cell develops into one of three types of mature blood cells:
• Red blood cells that carry oxygen and other materials to all tissues of the body.
• Platelets that help prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form.
• Granulocytes (white blood cells) that fight infection and disease
In CML, too many blood stem cells develop into a type of white blood cell called granulocytes. These granulocytes are abnormal and do not become healthy white blood cells. They may also be called leukemic cells. The leukemic 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.
These and other symptoms may be caused by CML. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Consult a doctor if any of the following problems occur:
• 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.
The type of treatment selected will depend upon cancer stage as well as your general health. Six types of treatment are commonly used for ACL: targeted therapy, chemotherapy, biologic therapy, high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell transplant, Donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI), and surgery.