Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment & Health
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is an uncommon, but serious blood cancer that affects the bone marrow and white blood cells. CML can cause a wide range of medical complications and is typically treated with chemotherapy and other drugs. In this article we discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of CML and its associated health risks.
What is Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia?
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood cells. It is characterized by the progressive accumulation of an abnormal type of white blood cell called the “myeloid cell”. These cells are larger than normal and can interfere with the production of healthy cells. The myeloid cells can then spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes.
Causes of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
The exact cause of CML is unknown, but is believed to be related to genetic changes, including the presence of a specific chromosome abnormality called the “Philadelphia chromosome”. This defective chromosome is created when pieces of chromosomes 9 and 22 break apart and reattach in the wrong places. The presence of this chromosome is usually necessary, but not always sufficient, for the development of the disease.
Symptoms of CML
Symptoms of CML can vary, but some of the most common include:
- Fatigue and weakness,
- Weight Loss,
- Night Sweats,
- Abdominal Pain, and
- Enlarged Spleen or Liver.
Additionally, those with CML may experience a drop in blood counts or have anemia or significant bruising and bleeding problems.
Treatment and Health Issues Associated with CML
The primary treatment for CML is chemotherapy and other drugs that work to reduce the levels of abnormal cells in the blood. Other treatments, such as bone marrow transplants, may also be used. In some cases, a cure is possible with these treatments.
Those with CML may also have an increased risk of infections due to their weakened immune systems. Additionally, those with CML may experience an increased risk of developing other cancers, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is important to consult with a doctor or other healthcare professional to understand and manage any associated health risks.