The Facts and Statistics About Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, or "CML"

  • It is a form of Leukemia, specifically a cancer affecting white blood cells
  • Characterized by an uncontrolled growth of myeloid cells in the bone marrow
  • Myeloid cells are produced from blood stem cells in the bone marrow
  • These Myeloid cells eventually differentiate into three types of important cells, platelets that help blood clot in the event of an injury, red blood cells that carry oxygen to all tissues of the body, and granulocytes (White Blood Cells) that fight infection and disease
  • As a result CML can cause adverse effects involving all three of these vital cells
  • In 2012 About 5,430 new cases will be diagnosed with CML (3,210 in men and 2,220 in women)
  • About 610 people will die of CML (370 men and 240 women)
  • CML accounts for about 10% to 15% of all leukemias
  • The average person's lifetime risk of getting CML is about 1 in 625.
  • The 5 year survival rate is 89%


Symptoms of CML

  • Easy Bleeding
  • Feeling run down or fatigued in excess
  • Frequent Infections often characterized by a fever
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Pain or fullness below the ribs on the left side
  • Pale Skin
  • Sweating excessively during sleep

Diagnosis and Treatment of CML

  • Often Diagnosed by the results of a routine blood test from a general practitioner, they red flags for CML are abnormal white blood cell counts, myeloid cell counts, swollen glands, and abnormal bleeding
  • Subsequently, a haematologist will often perform tests such as a bone marrow biopsy, x-rays, and ultrasound for a confirmation of the diagnosis
  • Often times, more than one therapy or treatment is used, but there are six common treatments for CML
  • Targeted therapy is a systematic therapy that targets only cells affected by CML
  • Chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells; It may have more adverse side effects as a result but may be more effective
  • Biological therapy can use a patients immune system to fight cancer, if they test well in the HER2/neu protein test
  • Very high dose chemotherapy can be supplemented with a stem cell transplant to replace the destroyed myeloid cells during treatment
  • DLI, or a lmyphocyte (white blood cell), transplant can be used to help the immune system fight the cancer cells
  • Surgery: Splenectomy

Risk Factors and Prevention

  • Old Age; The average age of diagnosis is 65, and the disease is rarely seen in children and young adults
  • Males are at a higher risk than females
  • Caucasians are at a higher risk than African Americans
  • Radiation exposure, such as through radiation therapy
  • Family history is not a risk factor
  • Diet, exercise, and routine health screenings by a general practitioner are important for prevention