Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Chronic myelogenous leukemia, which is also called CML, is a kind of cancer that occurs in a specialized white blood cell called a myelocyte. The cancerous change often takes place in the bone marrow, where all blood cells are made. CML is slow to develop and may affect a person for many years.
What is going on in the body?
When the cancerous cells grow in the bone marrow, normal bloods cells are often destroyed or crowded out. Having fewer normal white cells can cause the person to become infected easily. The infections may be serious and life-threatening. Having fewer platelets means that the person may bruise or bleed easily. Anemia, or low numbers of red blood cells, can make the person weak and easily tired.
CML cells eventually leave the bone marrow and travel throughout the body in the bloodstream. So many CML cells may enter the bloodstream that the blood becomes too thick. The number of CML cells may be as many as a 150 times the normal amount of white cells. However, these CML cells do not function like normal white cells.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The cause of CML is unknown.