What Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Is
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia or CML is a type of a cancer affecting one’s blood cells and bone marrow. This condition is also called chronic myeloid or chronic granulocytic leukemia. Chronic myelogenous leukemia is an uncommon type of cancer of the blood cells, which progresses more slowly than acute forms of leukemia and affects older adults.
There are 3 phases of chronic myelogenous leukemia:
1) Chronic phase – this is the earliest phase which generally has the best response to treatment.
2) Accelerated phase – this is a transitional phase wherein the disease or condition gets aggressive.
3) Blastic phase – this type of phase is the most severe and can be life-threatening.
How Is CML being diagnosed?
A series of laboratory tests is being performed to determine if a patient has CML. These tests are: 1) blood tests (complete blood count), 2) physical exam, 3) tests to look for Philadelphia chromosomes and 4) bone marrow tests (bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration).
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia?
CML signs and symptoms may include the following: 1) fatigue , 2) weight loss, 3) loss of appetite, 4) pale skin, 5) night sweats, 6) fever , 7) easy bleeding and 8) pain or fullness below the ribs on the left side.
What Causes Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia?
There are several factors that possibly cause this type of condition: 1) development of an abnormal chromosome, 2) genetic mutation of abnormal chromosomes, 3) diseased blood cells created by the new gene
A human cell normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes which hold the DNA that contains the instructions in controlling the cells in the body. In CML patients, chromosomes in the blood cells swap sections with each other wherein a section of chromosome 9 switch places with a section of chromosome 22, creating an extra short chromosome 22 (Philadelphia chromosome) and an extra long chromosome 9.
This Philadelphia chromosome then creates a new gene called BCR-ABL from the genes of chromosome 9 combined with genes from chromosome 22. This new gene contains instructions that command the abnormal blood cell to produce too much of a protein which we call tyrosine kinase, thus promoting cancer by allowing certain blood cells to go out of control.
A human blood cell originates in the bone marrow (a spongy material inside the bones). When a bone marrow functions normally, it produces immature cells in a controlled manner. These blood stem cells then mature and specialize into various types of blood cells circulating in a human body – red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In CML, this doesn’t work properly as the tyrosine kinase caused by BCR-ABL gene produces too many white blood cells which most, or all, contain the abnormal Philadelphia chromosome. The diseased white blood cells would build up in huge numbers, crowding out the healthy white blood cells and damaging the bone marrow.
Who are at risk of CML?
There are 3 risk factors having this condition: 1) older age , 2) being a male, 3) exposure to radiation (e.g. radiation therapy) . Family history is certainly not a risk factor of this .
What Are Or Maybe The Possible Complications?
When left untreated, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia may cause a variety of complications such as: 1) pain (bone or joint), 2) infection, 3) fatigue, 4) enlarged spleen and 5) death.
CML treatments such as Dasatinib (Sprycel), Imatinib (Gleevec), Ponatinib (Iclusig), Nilotinib (Tasigna) and Bosutinib (Bosulif) are designed to attack cancer by focusing on a specific type of cancer cells that allow them to grow and multiply. In CML, the target or goal of these drugs is the tyrosine kinase , a protein produced by the BCR-ABL gene.
Aside from these targeted drugs, there are also different treatments for CML like chemotherapy, biological therapy, blood stem cell transplant, clinical trials and even alternative medicines such as relaxation techniques, aromatherapy, massage, meditation and acupuncture