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Monitoring Response to CML Treatment

Regular testing and checkups are important to monitor response to the treatment of Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML). If you or a loved one is already taking medication for CML, then you’re moving in the right direction. Treatment can help keep CML from advancing, allowing you to help manage and live with the disease.

It is important to check the progress of Ph+ CML and find out how the treatment plan is working. Your doctor and the CML healthcare team will perform regular checkups. First and most important, take the medication exactly as the CML doctor prescribes. Second, always keep scheduled doctor appointments. Even if your schedule gets very busy, remember to always make time for your health.

The more you know about CML and what is required to monitor the disease, the better prepared you and your loved ones will be to make important health decisions.

The doctor may recommend several types of laboratory tests to help monitor whether or not you are responding to the prescribed medication. These lab tests involve taking blood or bone marrow samples. Each test observes a different level of treatment response. For Ph+ CML there are three levels of response to treatment: hematologic, cytogenetic, and molecular. Different tests are used to see if you reach each of these levels. Your doctor uses the tests to help manage CML and decide if any treatment changes are necessary. The doctor may recommend monitoring every three months using some or all of the laboratory tests available.

Tests to Check Your Progress

Here are some tests that may be conducted by the doctor, or a member of the CML healthcare team, to help check your treatment progress.

  • Physical Exams
    The doctor checks your overall health and asks if you’re experiencing any side effects. This check up may be similar to an annual check up.
  • Blood Cell Monitoring
    The doctor may regularly monitor your blood cell levels to count the components of blood—white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. There are three types of blood cell tests that our doctor may conduct: hematologic, cytogenetic and molecular monitoring.
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