Chronic myelogenous leukemia – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, February 16, 2018 by

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a variant of leukemia, a type of cancer that attacks the bone marrow. CML attacks blood-forming cells of the bone marrow, causing irreparable damage to the immature (early) version of myeloid cells (cells responsible for the production of red blood cells, platelets, and most types of white blood cells). Consequently, an abnormal gene BCR-ABL is formed which turns normal cells into a CML one. CML tumors develop gradually and can settle in other parts of the body.

CML may also be referred to as chronic myelogenous leukemia. It is a condition that mostly affects adults but can occur in children who have a weakened immune system.

Prognosis for CML is varied. The cancer is a slow-growing leukemia, so identification should be easier with treatment plans simpler to develop. However, CML is known to change to its acute stage without notice suddenly. Treatment for these types is extremely difficult.

Known side effects of chronic myeloid leukemia

Doctors often describe CML as one of the more insidious diseases out there. Symptoms build up over time and may be difficult to detect in its early stages (especially if the patient is not paying attention). CML has gained the reputation of growing slowly in its infancy stages then rapidly accelerating towards a more acute form. Individuals are highly encouraged to visit an oncologist if they experience:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Loss of energy
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Persistent low-grade fever accompanied with excessive sweating
  • Elevated white blood cell (WBC) count
  • Lack of appetite
  • Any type of pain (dull or sharp) experienced in the left upper abdomen
  • Hepatomegaly (a visible enlargement of the liver)

CML may be in its acute stage if the patient experiences:

  • Bleeding
  • Bone pain and high fever
  • Anemia followed with a rapidly enlarging spleen

Body systems harmed by chronic myeloid leukemia

CML starts in the bone marrow and can metastasize to other organs. It is a progressive and destructive disease. It affects all body systems.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent chronic myeloid leukemia

Oncologists have not determined a specific diet plan that can prevent CML. Because it is a type of cancer, it is believed that following a plant-based diet (which has been proven to help other forms of the disease) can be useful. Supplements containing turmeric are also suggested, along with proper lifestyle habits such as exercise and not smoking.

Those who have already been diagnosed with CML will have a compromised immune system. Patients are more vulnerable to suffering from food-borne illnesses. As such, CML patients should pay special attention to their food and avoid ingesting microscopic amounts of bacteria. Red meat, in particular, should be thoroughly cooked before eaten — if at all. CML patients are highly encouraged to veer away from red meat and consume more fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in antioxidants.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as suggested a balanced diet comprised of:

  • Five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains and legumes
  • Low-fat food such as fish and poultry
  • Low-fat dairy

Treatments, management plans for chronic myeloid leukemia

Most patients with CML are prescribed some form of radiation therapy. These have been shown to be vaguely successful; some patients say that their disease was halted whereas others report experiencing no change.

Herbal remedies can be used to treat CML. Take note that these have not been scientifically validated.

  • Milk thistle — Research shows that the herb can help treat cancers that affect the liver while improving overall digestive health. It can be useful for CML conditions that have grown around the liver.
  • Korean red ginseng — This plant is used to treat various forms of leukemia. It works by slowing the progression of the cancer cells while causing apoptosis in leukemia cells.
  • Olive leaf — There are clinical trials that suggest that taking a standardized extract of 250 to 500 mg of olive leaf one to three times a day may increase immune function.

Where to learn more


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) attacks blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. It is a slow-growing form of cancer that can rapidly change into its acute stage without notice. Prognosis for the condition is varied.

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