What is Chronic Myeloid Leukemia?
What is Chronic Myeloid Leukemia? Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is one form of blood cancer that develops slowly and affects white blood cells as myeloid cells.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) affects stem cells producing myeloid cells. Myeloid stem cells become one of three types of mature blood cells:
- Red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body tissues.
- Platelets for clotting process when there is bleeding
- Granulocytes (white blood cells) that fight infections and diseases.
People with chronic myeloid leukemia produce too many granulocytes. Granulocytes are not fully developed and functioning poorly. Over time, unhealthy cells accumulate and begin filling the bone marrow, preventing it from producing healthy blood cells.
Chronic myeloid leukemia progresses slowly but surely, although it can be treated, usually, standard care may not be able to cure the disease in totality.
Signs and symptoms of chronic myelogenous leukemia may include:
- Easy bleeding
- Feeling broken or tired
- Lose weight without trying
- Loss of appetite
- Pain or satiety under the ribs on the left side
- Pale skin
- Excessive sweating during sleep (night sweats)
When should you see a doctor
Chronic myelogenous leukemia does not always reveal signs and symptoms during the initial phase. It is possible to live with chronic myelogenous leukemia for several months or several years without realizing it.
Because people with chronic myelogenous leukemia tend to be better at responding to treatment when starting early, immediately make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia occurs when something goes awry in your blood cell genes. It is not clear what initially triggered this process, but doctors found out how the progress of chronic myelogenous leukemia.
First, chromosomes develop abnormally
Human cells usually contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. This chromosome holds a DNA that contains clues (genes) that control the cells in your body. In people with chronic myelogenous leukemia, chromosomes in blood cells exchange parts with one another. Part of chromosome 9 switches places with chromosome part 22, creating extra chromosome 22 and an extra length of chromosome 9.
Second, an abnormal chromosome creates a new gene
The Philadelphia chromosome creates a new gene. Combining genes from chromosome 9 with genes from chromosome 22 to create a new gene called BCR-ABL. The BCR-ABL gene contains clues that tell the abnormal blood cells to produce too many proteins called tyrosine kinases. Tyrosine kinase promotes cancer by allowing certain blood cells to grow out of control.
Third, the new genes allow the diseased blood cells too much
Your blood cells come from the bone marrow that is a spongy ingredient in your bones. When your bone marrow functions normally, it produces immature cells (blood stem cells) in a controlled way.
In chronic myelogenous leukemia, this process does not work properly. Tyrosine kinases caused by the BCR-ABL gene cause too much white blood cells. Diseased white blood cells build up in large quantities, clustering out healthy blood cells and damaging the bone marrow.
Factors that increase the risk of chronic myelogenous leukemia, include:
- Older age
- Male gender
- Exposure to radiation, such as radiation therapy for certain types of cancer
Family history is not a risk factor
Chromosome mutations leading to chronic myelogenous leukemia are not inherited from parents to offspring. This mutation is believed to be obtained, meaning it develops after birth.