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Chronic Myeloid Leukemia


Chronic myeloid leukemia is also called chronic myelogenous leukemia or CML. It is cancer of the bone marrow and blood cells. With CML, blood cells that should become white blood cells (WBCs) do not fully grow. These cells do not fight infection like a normal WBC should. They crowd the bone marrow and prevent normal blood cells from growing and fighting infection.



  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or oncologist:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Self care:

  • Get plenty of rest: Rest as much as you need to. Match your activity to the amount of energy you have.

  • Prevent constipation: High-fiber foods, extra liquids, and regular exercise can help you prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods are fruit and bran. Prune juice and water are good liquids to drink. Regular exercise helps your digestive system work. You may also be told to take over-the-counter fiber and stool softener medicines. Take these items as directed.

  • Eat healthy foods: Eating healthy foods may help you feel better and have more energy. If you have trouble swallowing, you may be given foods that are soft or in liquid form. Ask your caregiver about any extra nutrition you may need, such as nutrition shakes or vitamins. Tell your caregiver if you have problems eating, or if you are getting sick to your stomach.

  • Drink liquids: You may need to drink extra liquids to avoid dehydration, especially if you are vomiting or have diarrhea from cancer treatments. Ask your caregiver which liquids to drink and how much you need each day.

Prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands often, especially after you change a diaper or go to the bathroom. Wash your hands before you eat.

  • Bathe daily: Make sure to wash between the folds of your skin. Use an electric shaver to keep from nicking your skin when shaving. Gently clean between your legs each time you have a bowel movement or urinate.

  • Avoid people who are sick: Stay away from people who have a cold or the flu. Also try to stay away from large groups of people to decrease your risk of getting a cold or flu.

  • Brush your teeth: Gently brush your teeth and gums using a brush with soft bristles. Do this 2 to 3 times every day. Change the water in your denture cup daily if you have dentures.

  • Clean humidifiers: Change the water in your humidifier or other respiratory equipment daily.

For more information and support:

  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Inc.
    1311 Mamaroneck Avenue
    White Plains , NY 10605
    Phone: 1- 914 - 949-5213
    Phone: 1- 800 - 955-4572
    Web Address:
  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address:
  • National Cancer Institute
    6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 300
    Bethesda , MD 20892-8322
    Phone: 1- 800 - 422-6237
    Web Address:

Contact your primary healthcare provider or oncologist if:

  • You have blood in your spit or vomit.

  • You are coughing or have shortness of breath.

  • You feel dizzy or your heart begins to beat very fast.

  • You have sores or white patches in your mouth or throat.

  • You have rectal pain or hemorrhoids.

  • You have diarrhea or bloody bowel movements.

  • You have pain in your eyes, ears, skin, joints, or stomach.

  • You have pain when you urinate or bad-smelling urine.

  • Your gums and nose are bleeding.

  • You have blurred vision or blood spots in the whites of your eyes.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a headache, stiff neck, or have trouble seeing or thinking clearly.

  • You are taking chemotherapy pills or have had chemotherapy in the last two weeks and you have a fever.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.

  • You have chest pain. You may have more pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (Discharge Care)