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It’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed and unsettled when your loved one receives a chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis. We’re here to help you navigate this stressful time. At the Larivière et Massicotte pharmacy, we’re here to support you and your loved ones, working with your doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to ensure you receive the best possible pharmacological treatment. We manage your medications so you can focus on fighting the disease.

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What is chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)?

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a rare type of blood cancer that attacks the stem cells of the bone marrow, resulting in an uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal blood cells. CML is characterized by the presence of a genetic mutation called BCR-ABL. This mutation causes CML cells to multiply and build up in the blood. More precisely, CML affects myeloid stem cells, which divide and can interfere with the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

How is chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosed?

Alongside a physical examination, the diagnosis of CML is made through blood tests such as the complete blood count (which counts the number of white blood cells in the blood), and the measuring of the quantity of the BCR-ABL gene with PCR tests. A marrow biopsy is also performed to determine the stage of the disease.

What are the symptoms of chronic myeloid leukemia?

In its chronic phase, CML is often asymptomatic. Symptoms may include fatigue, recurrent infections, weight loss, unexplained bleeding, bone pain, or night sweats, depending on the progression of the disease.

What are the treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia?

CML treatment is designed to control the disease and keep patients in the chronic phase, where symptoms are at a minimum. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are often used to keep the patient in remission, with many of them responding well to treatment and maintaining a good quality of life for many years. In the advanced or blast phase, higher doses of TKIs, chemotherapy, or stem cell transplantation may be appropriate.

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How can Larivière et Massicotte support you?

Our mission

Our committed team works hand in hand with community pharmacists, healthcare teams, and various healthcare professionals to support patients with rare and complex disease, ensuring the best possible care for them.

Common questions

Will I lose my hair?

Hair loss is a side effect of some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. It is rarer with BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Is chronic myeloid leukemia hereditary?

Although the genetic mutation that causes CML is not usually hereditary, some people may have genetic predispositions that increase their risk of developing the disease. These predispositions can be complex, resulting from combinations of genetic and environmental factors.

How important is taking CML medication regularly, and how can it influence disease progression?

CML treatments, in particular tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), are designed to suppress the abnormal BCR-ABL protein that stimulates cancer cell growth. When these drugs are taken consistently, without skipping a dose, they can effectively control the disease, preventing progression to more advanced stages of CML. On the other hand, frequently missing doses can lead to drug resistance and CML relapse.

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