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Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

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What is chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)?

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a type of blood cancer where myeloid cells in your bone marrow make too many granulocytes (a type of white blood cell). Over time, these damaged cells fill up your bone marrow, preventing it from producing all types of healthy blood cells. You might hear CML also called chronic granulocytic leukaemia (CGS).

You can find out more about AML, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatments, on the Leukaemia Care and Blood Cancer UK websites.

Facts about CML

  • Nearly 800 people are diagnosed with CML each year in the UK.
  • CML is more common in people over the age of 65.
  • There were 34 stem cell transplants in the UK to treat CML in 2020.

CML and stem cell transplants

Most patients with CML are diagnosed during the chronic phase, when treatment with a type of drug called Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) is possible. You can find out more about the different phases of CML and possible treatments on the Leukaemia Care website.

A stem cell transplant is only recommended:

  • if you have CML that hasn’t responded to TKIs, or
  • if you are diagnosed with ‘blast crisis’ CML and treatment gets you back to ‘chronic’ phase CML.

If you do need a transplant, it will be an allogeneic transplant – when stem cells are donated to you by someone else.

I certainly try and enjoy life more now, which sounds so cliché but it is true. Even simple things. I remember a day in particular on my own walking the dog, just a normal field, nothing special about it and just thinking: 'Wow I’m lucky, this is so nice.'

Alex, who received a stem cell transplant to treat his CML in 2016. You can read his story on our blog.

Information published: 16/02/22
Next review due: 16/02/23

Related links

Preparing for a stem cell transplant

Having a stem cell transplant

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