What Is Chronic Myeloid Leukemia?
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a cancer that affects your blood cells and bone marrow -- the soft part inside your bones where blood cells are made.
You may also hear your doctor call it chronic myeloid leukemia. It's the same disease, just a different name.
With treatment, you may go into what's called "remission." For most people, that doesn't mean the cancer is completely gone, but it's less active than before. You can be in remission for many years.
CML usually happens when you're middle-aged or older. The symptoms tend to come on gradually. Many of them can also be signs of other illnesses. For instance, you might feel tired, lose weight when you're not trying to, or sometimes get a fever.
The disease starts with a problem in the genes of your blood cells. Sections of two different chromosomes switch places and make a new abnormal one.
This new chromosome leads your body to make white blood cells that don't work as they should. They're called leukemia cells, and when they show up in your bloodstream, there's less room for healthy blood cells.
Most people will never know what caused them to get CML. You don't typically get it from your parents or from infections. Your smoking habits and diet don't seem to raise your chance of getting it either.
The only known risk is if you've been in contact with high levels of radiation.