Follow up for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) | Cancer Research UK
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Follow up for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

Men and women discussing chronic myeloid leukaemia

This page is about follow up appointments for chronic myeloid leukaemia. You can read about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Why have check ups?

If you are having biological therapy or chemotherapy that aims to control your CML your doctor will arrange for you to have regular check ups. They will monitor how well your treatment is working and check for any side effects. 

If you have had high dose chemotherapy with a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant you will have regular check ups at first. The appointments may get less frequent after a year or so but they will continue for several years.

What will happen

At your check ups you will have blood tests and your doctor or specialist nurse will ask how you are feeling. You may have a physical examination as well. Sometimes your doctor may ask you to have a bone marrow test.

If you are worried or notice any new symptoms between check ups, tell your doctor or specialist nurse straight away. You don't have to wait for your next appointment.

Check ups can be worrying

Many people find their check ups quite worrying, especially at first. It may be helpful to tell someone close to you how you are feeling. Having someone go along with you to your check ups may help. Many people also find it helpful to have counselling after cancer treatment. To find out about counselling, look in the coping with cancer section.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating CML section.

 

 

Why you need check ups

If you are having biological therapy or chemotherapy that aims to control the CML you will have regular check ups. Your doctor or specialist nurse will monitor how well your treatment is working and check for any side effects. If your treatment does stop working, your doctor or nurse will pick this up very quickly. And there are likely to be other treatments you can try.

If you have had high dose chemotherapy with a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant you will have regular check ups at first. The appointments may get less frequent after a year or so but they will continue for several years.

 

How often you will have check ups

When you first start treatment, you may see your specialist every week, or fortnight. If all is going well, you will then see your doctor monthly. This will vary according to your particular needs. If you have more advanced CML, or your treatment changes, you will need to see your doctor more often. 

Generally, if you are having treatment with imatinib (Glivec), nilotinib (Tasigna) or chemotherapy your doctor will see you each month to check your blood counts regularly to see how well your bone marrow is working.

 

At the appointments

You will have blood tests at your check ups and your doctor will ask how you are feeling. You may have a physical examination as well. Sometimes your doctor may ask you to have a bone marrow test

If everything is going well, the time between check ups will gradually lengthen. If you are worried, or notice any new symptoms between appointments, let your doctor know straight away. You don't have to wait until the next appointment. Your doctor or specialist nurse needs to know if there is something worrying you.

 

Coping with worry

Many people find their check ups quite worrying. If you are feeling well and getting on with your life, a hospital appointment can bring back all the worry about having leukaemia. You may find it helpful to tell someone close to you how you feel. If you are able to share your worries they may not seem quite so bad.

You might prefer to talk to someone outside your circle of family and friends. You could try talking to someone at a cancer support group who may have been through similar experiences. Many people find it helpful to have counselling after cancer treatment. To find out about counselling, look in the coping with cancer section.

Look at the chronic leukaemia organisations page for organisations that can put you in touch with a support group. The general cancer organisations page also has details of organisations who can help you to find sources of emotional support and counselling in your area.

If you want to find people to share experiences with on line, you could use Cancer Chat, our online forum.

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Updated: 20 November 2014