Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML) is a rare cancer found in the bone marrow . CMML leukemia affects the myelocyte and monocyte blood cells and it can be caused by viruses or a genetic condition. It is also believed that exposure to some chemicals and radiation can cause the cancer. There are many symptoms of CMML leukemia:
• Feeling fatigued almost constantly
• Pains in the bones
• Bleeding that cannot be controlled
• Severe headaches
• Breathing problems
• Suddenly feeling dizzy
Blood tests are the normal way to diagnose CMML leukemia and depending on results the doctor will recommend what treatment is needed. The most used method of treating CMML is by chemotherapy, but there is a new treatment available now by transplanting stem cells.
At the moment there are 18 clinical trials being performed in 20 cities throughout the United States. These trials are very important in trying to find new treatments to fight CMML leukemia. At the moment the trials are looking at 49 different drugs and procedures that could help fight the disease. I have given some facts about CMML leukemia below:
• It is a malignant cancer and classed as a myelodysplasia. It causes the white blood cell to grow excessively. There is no known cause of the disease in around 80% of CMML sufferers but the other 20% can be pinpointed .
• Normally CMML leukemia is a slow progressing illness but it can become rapid and become acute.
• CMML was classed as a myelodysplasia in 1976 because the growth seen was similar to those seen in bone marrow. It is very common for many patients to have an enlarged liver and/or spleen.
• Research has shown that the number of men developing the disease outnumber women by two to one and that the average age of patients is 65 – 70 years old.
• The first sign that someone could be suffering from CMML is anemia.
• Children can also be affected by a form of CMML, but it is generally agreed that it is a different form of CMML suffered by adults.
• There is no way of knowing if the disease is going to progress slowly or rapidly. The average survival rate for CMML leukemia is between 20 – 30 months but it can be anywhere between one month and 10 years. If the cells in the bone marrow increase this normally means a shorter survival time.