Questions to Ask Your Doctor About CML Treatment
It's easy to get confused by all of your tests and possible responses to treatment. Here are some questions to ask your doctor that will help you better understand your CML treatment and how well you’re responding to it:
- Can you explain what my lab test results mean?
- What phase is my CML in?
- What are the goals of my treatment?
- Which treatment will work best for me?
- How often will I need to return for follow-up tests?
- What side effects or symptoms should I report to you during treatment?
How can I make sure I don't have a CML relapse?
How Do I Know if I’m Having a CML Relapse?
If you do have a CML relapse, you probably won't be aware of it. The changes happening in your cells are so tiny that they won't cause symptoms. That's why it's so important that you see your doctor regularly for tests.
"The diagnostic tools available these days are so sensitive that they are far more likely to diagnose a relapse before a patient would notice any physical signs," Müschen says. "The doctor would probably spot the relapsing cells months before the patient would feel anything."
Keeping close tabs on your blood and bone marrow cells can alert your doctor well before CML can move into the more serious accelerated and blast phases and cause symptoms. If you do experience symptoms like bruising, bleeding, or fatigue, they are probably signs that the disease has already advanced.
"If there is any indication that the disease is on the rise again, treatment modification would then be made," Müschen says. Your doctor might try a different medication. Or you might be given another treatment, like a stem cell transplant.