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Feeling Sick With CML: Coping With Later Phases

Treating Accelerated or Blast Phases continued...

If you’re taking a TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor), the most common type of CML medication, your doctor may switch you to a new one or suggest another type of drug or chemotherapy.

At this point, there are limits to what TKI therapy alone can do. They can slow down progression in these phases, Radich says, but they can’t cure the disease.

You should also talk to your doctor about whether you might need a bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant.

“I would tell patients, 'We are dealing with aggressive disease, so we need to look for donors and have a plan for long-term care,'” Jabbour says.

Use Your Support Network

If your CML gets to the advanced stages, reach out to friends and family for support. Let them know what would help you, or when you would like company.

Your doctors are also part of your support team. As you follow their medical advice, you can ask them about resources, like support groups or counseling, that might help.

Try to stay positive, too, because there's lots of room for hope. "We are constantly improving our treatments," says Amir Fathi, MD, of Harvard Medical School. "CML is among the most exciting areas of therapeutic improvement in the last 10-15 years, and it continues to get better."

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Reviewed on February 14, 2014

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