Cancer of the blood-developing cells of your bone marrow, called chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), invades your blood and spreads to other areas of your body. CML only accounts for about ten percent of leukemia patients.
Chronic myeloid leukemia occurs through genetic mutations in immature myeloid cells. These myeloid cells include those making red blood cells, platelets and non-lymphocyte white blood cells. The disease progresses through overgrowth and division of the cancerous cells that build up in your bone marrow. More and more defective cells enter your blood and travel to other parts of your body.
Chronic myeloid leukemia grows slowly compared to acute myeloid leukemia, but can change from chronic to acute cancer that is harder to treat.
Chronic myeloid leukemia is one of four primary types of leukemia. These types include:
Acute leukemias keep bone marrow cells from maturing normally. These stem cells reproduce out of control and build up. People with acute types of leukemia need immediate treatment or face an outlook of only a few months, whereas chronic leukemia patients do not notice symptoms for years in many cases. Unfortunately, their outlook after treatment is not usually as optimistic as for acute leukemia patients. Acute leukemias generally respond well to treatment and often provide a cure for the cancer.
After your diagnosis with chronic myeloid leukemia, it is important that you understand your disease, treatment options and outlook. Talk with your treatment team to gain answers to your questions and keep yourself well-informed about treatment, procedures, your disease progression and general wellness. Your treatment team exists to help you gain confidence in your options and decisions. If you need a second opinion, feel free to pursue that through another reputable healthcare provider.