As long as you continue oral drug therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), you'll need to visit your doctor regularly to have your treatment response measured. He or she monitors your health and looks for any long-term effects or late effects.
Your doctors will let you know how often you need physical exams, blood tests and bone marrow tests to check your progress.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) produces clinical practice guidelines in oncology, which many doctors follow. NCCN guidelines are among the most comprehensive and most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. Their CML guidelines provide recommendations for management and care of CML patients. You can download a copy of the CML guidelines at the NCCN website for helpful information to discuss with your doctor.
Some treatment centers have comprehensive follow-up care clinics for cancer survivors. To find a long-term survival clinic near you, visit The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.
Late Effects of Treatment
Sometimes, side effects may not appear until years after treatment starts. These are called late effects. If you're taking Gleevec, you may be at risk for osteoporosis (low-bone density). Talk to your doctor early during your treatment to discuss how to avoid this potential late effect of treatment.
Stem cell transplantation patients are at increased risk of infertility, thyroid dysfunction and chronic fatigue. They're also at risk of developing a secondary cancer such as lymphoma; melanoma; and cancers of the central nervous system, bone, soft tissue and thyroid gland and tongue and salivary glands. However, the number of patients who develop a secondary cancer is small.
Researchers are working to improve their understanding of long-term and late effects and create guidelines for follow-up care. If you'd like to contribute to this important research, you can take part in a clinical trial that collects data on long-term and late effects.