Most Patients With CML Can Continue Their Normal Lifestyle During Treatment

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Most — though not all — side effects from chronic myeloid leukemia treatment improve over time, an expert said.

Most side effects from chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treatment are manageable and will improve over time. As such, the majority of patients can expect to continue their normal lifestyle of daily living, work, play and spending time with loved ones, explained Dr. Jorge E. Cortes, director of the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University.

During the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, Cortes discussed side effects for CML and how patients can work with their care team to manage them. For example, there may be a dietary change or medication to treat diarrhea, and sometimes, it may be beneficial to change the drugs patients are taking entirely to improve quality of life.

MORE:Understanding the Disease, Treatments Help Patients Navigate a CML Diagnosis

Transcript:

For most patients, they are able to continue their normal lifestyle. [But] there's no question that there's going to be some changes. You know, for one, there's some basics on testing, taking the pill [prescribed to treat CML].

Many patients experience some [side effects]. Early on, we see more of these [side effects]. Over time, they tend to improve. Many of them — not always — but many of them do improve. Sometimes they disappear, sometimes at least they get better. But I think that for most patients, they're able to continue their activities of daily living, work, play family, all of that.

But there are some patients who have more limitations; the fatigue is more than expected, where they have chronic diarrhea or things like that. Always it's important to know that we can manage many of these things [but] not all of them. … If you have diarrhea, is there a dietary intervention or medication [you] can take etc. Or others or are you manage by changing drugs, you know that as the alternative? In other instances, it's you know [the side effects] are there and even the change is; how can I optimize at least or minimize the impact in my in my quality of life?

Editor's Note: This program was made possible with support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

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