What Is the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia?

Q:
What is the diagnosis and treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia?

A:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose chronic myelogenous leukemia include:

  • Physical exam.
  • Blood tests.
  • Bone marrow tests.
  • Tests to look for the Philadelphia chromosome.

The goal of your treatment is to destroy the leukemia blood cells in your body and restore healthy ones to a normal level. It’s usually not possible to get rid of all the bad cells. Common treatments include:

  • Targeted drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). They are the initial treatment for most people diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia.
  • Blood stem cell transplant. It offers the only chance for a definitive cure for chronic myelogenous leukemia. However, it’s usually reserved for people who haven’t been helped by other treatments because blood stem cell transplants have risks and carry a high rate of serious complications.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs are typically combined with other treatments for chronic myelogenous leukemia.
  • Biological therapy. Biological therapies harness your body’s immune system to help fight cancer. Side effects of interferon include fatigue, fever, flu-like symptoms and weight loss.

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