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Can chronic myeloid leukemia be treated?

Q: My 31 years old sister has been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous (or myeloid) leukaemia (CML). Her white blood cell (WBC) count has increased to 42,000. Is it life threatening? Is her condition curable or not? Will bone marrow transplant treat CML?

A:Standard treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia is Imatinib therapy or allogenic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). BMT is the only curative treatment for CML and Imatinib keeps disease under control in sensitive patients. We don’t know what form of treatment your sister is getting. If she is already on Imatinib and her counts are going up, it means disease is progressing to accelerated phase or blast crisis. The treatment will be decided accordingly. Please consult a Haematologist or Hemato-oncologist for further treatment.

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