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Chronic myeloid Leukaemia

Chronic myeloid Leukaemia treatment at GenesisCare

We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including chronic myeloid leukaemia. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists that are experts in this disease who work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Treatment overview

Treatment for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) may include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, transplants and radiotherapy. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that affects specific types of white blood cells called granulocytes or monocytes. These cells develop in the bone marrow from stem cells called myeloid stem cells. Its called chronic myeloid leukaemia because the condition progresseslowly over time.   

According to Cancer Research UK, around 750 people are diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in the UK each year. However, early treatment can improve the outcome for many. 

Other types of leukaemia are: 

Occasionally, chronic myeloid leukaemia can progress to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) or acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)Although this is a rare complication of the condition, your clinician will advise the best course of therapy for you if this happens. 

We are the UK’s leading specialist private cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best personalised care plan for your diagnosis. 

It is our commitment to offering world-class care to every patient with cancer. 

How is chronic myeloid leukaemia treated?

There are a number of options of treatment available for chronic myeloid leukaemia at GenesisCare, such as:  

  • Targeted therapy – a specialised group of drugs that attack or block certain processes in the cancer cells, causing them to die  
  • Immunotherapy – drugs that help your body’s immune system recognise and fight the cancer 
  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs which destroy the cancerous cells 
  • Transplants – replace abnormal blood cells and damaged stem cells 
  • Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells 

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These web pages provide more information about chronic myeloid leukaemia treatment at GenesisCare. If you would like to contact us in confidence, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
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Chapter 2


How is chronic myeloid leukaemia diagnosed?

At GenesisCare, we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are first-class and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by conditions other than chronic myeloid leukaemia. Whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay. 

If you’re concerned about chronic myeloid leukaemia symptoms, we offer fast access to specialist chronic myeloid leukaemia tests and diagnostics. We also offer a dedicated Rapid Access Haematology Service at some of our centresHere you’ll see one of our expert consultant haematologists who specialise in blood and bone marrow cancers. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as blood testsbone marrow aspirate biopsyan ultrasound scan oCT scanAppointments are usually available within 24 hours.  

Chronic myeloid leukaemia symptoms

Symptoms of chronic myeloid leukaemia develop over a long time and usually become more noticeable as your body produces more immature white blood cells. Occasionally it is picked up in a routine blood test. Typical symptoms are common to other illnesses, so they can be challenging to spot 

Signs may include: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Breathlessness 
  • High temperature and sweating 
  • Pale skin 
  • Red or purple spots on your skin 
  • Bruising and bleeding 
  • Lumps or swelling 
  • Pains in your bones or joints 
  • Abdominal discomfort  

If you have any concerns, you should seek medical advice or book an appointment through our Rapid Access Haematology Service. 

Rapid Access Haematology Service

Our specialist team of haematology consultants can assess and diagnose conditions quickly so you can get the answers you need and plan any treatment immediately.
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Chapter 3

Drug treatments

At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage chronic myeloid leukaemia, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and can answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.

Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the high quality of care we provide for people living with cancer. 

There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible. 

Targeted therapy for chronic myeloid leukaemia 

Targeted (also called biological) therapies are a specialised group of drugs that have been designed to attack or block certain processes in cancer cells that tumours depend on to survive and grow. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy and are usually the first treatment for chronic myeloid leukaemia. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors stop the signalling processes on the outside of cancer cells that otherwise encourage them to grow and divide.  

There are several types of tyrosine kinase inhibitors available for chronic myeloid leukaemia treatment. Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate one for you.  

Immunotherapy for chronic myeloid leukaemia 

Immunotherapies work by helping your body’s immune system to recognise and fight the cancer. Chronic myeloid leukaemia is treated with an immunotherapy drug called interferon alpha. Interferon alpha works by modulating your immune system – stimulating your immune cells to attack the cancer and encouraging cancer cells to release chemicals that attract immune cells to the cancer.   

Chemotherapy for chronic myeloid leukaemia 

Chemotherapy involves the use of cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs that destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy for chronic myeloid leukaemia can be delivered on its own if you’re unable to have targeted therapy or immunotherapy. You may also receive chemotherapy in combination with other treatments, such as leukapheresis which filters excessive white blood cells from the body. 

Your doctor may also suggest a course of high-dose of chemotherapy if your condition doesn’t respond to initial treatment with targeted therapy or immunotherapy. Although intensive chemotherapy can successfully treat chronic myeloid leukaemia, it may also mean that you’ll need to have a bone marrow or stem cell transplant alongside this treatment.  

Palliative care  

If your cancer has been resistant to treatment or has relapsed (returned after treatment), this is called refractory chronic myeloid leukaemia. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for refractory chronic myeloid leukaemia to reduce the progression of your cancer and ease any symptoms.  

Personalised medicine 

For some advanced cancers, we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay. 

Clinical trials  

There may be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for chronic myeloid leukaemia. Clinical trials can be considered a suitable treatment option if you’ve exhausted standard therapies or evidence suggests the trial treatment will be more successful at treating your condition. Your haematologist will discuss these opportunities in more detail with you.  

Drug treatment side effects 

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 4


Transplants are used to replace abnormal white blood cells and form part of an overall treatment and care plan for some forms of leukaemia. However, advancements in targeted therapies and immunotherapy for chronic myeloid leukaemia now means transplants are not as commonly used as before.

Our consultants themselves, or in collaboration with other leading haematologists who are experts in transplants for blood and bone marrow cancers, will discuss the option of a transplant and decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends a transplant, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.

Stem cell and bone marrow transplants

Stem cells are early types of cells found in your bone marrow and they can develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. When treating chronic myeloid leukaemia, stem cell and bone marrow transplantreplace the abnormal white blood cells 

Your doctor may recommend a transplant if you’re not suitable for targeted therapy or immunotherapy, or your condition is not responding well to these treatments. You can also choose to have a transplant for chronic myeloid leukaemia if a well-matched donor is available, such as a sibling or aunrelated donor 

Transplant side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways in which your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 5


Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It’s not usually the main treatment option for chronic myeloid leukaemia patients. However, youll receive radiotherapy if you have a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.  

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK. We offer world-class expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues. 

Your treatment will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists, radiotherapists and medical physicists. They’ll work together to ensure that you receive only the best possible care. 

Total body irradiation (TBI) delivers radiation to your whole body and is used to help kill leukaemia cells in the bone marrow before a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.  

Side effects of radiotherapy

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you before you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Advanced radiotherapy
Chapter 6

Integrative care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. 


We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all chronic myeloid leukaemia patients at any of our 14 UK centres 

Chapter 7

Why choose us?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for chronic myeloid leukaemia treatment, you’ll be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant haematologists and oncologists. They’ll design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.  

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers. 

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care. We have meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here. 

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.