Chronic APML is a serious type of leukemia and can be treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug that destroys the white blood cells but also damages healthy cells in the body. This drug has been effective in treating this type of leukemia, but can cause side effects in some patients.
Chronic monoclonal gammopathy (CMG) is another form of chronic myelogenous leukemia and occurs after treatment with drugs like cisplatin. Chronic monoclonal gammopathy can be very difficult to treat, because it requires that the patient’s bone marrow must be examined at regular intervals to see if new blood cells have been produced. However, treatment is possible, especially if there is some type of immune system boost. The drugs used to treat these cases have side effects that have been known to cause cancer. Some patients, especially those who are in their 30s, may develop mesothelioma.
A bone marrow transplant may be needed to treat this form of chronic myelogenous leukemia, and in rare cases, a transplant may be needed to treat the other types of leukemia as well. The bone marrow may be destroyed by the drug or chemicals used to treat these cases, or both. In some cases, the leukemia may continue to grow for many years.
Chronic APML is extremely difficult to diagnose. Blood tests are not always successful. For example, the results of a bone marrow test may show that the patient has leukemia, but the results of a complete blood count may show that the patient has normal blood clotting levels. This is especially true if the person has had a recent heart attack.
Bone marrow testing may be done to look for specific types of abnormal white blood cells, which can help to determine whether the leukemia is APML or another form. of the condition. If the test reveals abnormal white blood cells, it may be possible to make an accurate diagnosis.
There may be no way to determine how long the leukemia has been present in a person without tests, but sometimes doctors do see a clear history of the disease. These tests include an HIV test, a CT scan of the lungs and an X-ray of the chest.
Treatment depends on the type of leukemia and its progression, as well as the symptoms a patient is experiencing. Patients may need chemotherapy to control the leukemia if it is severe and in remission or to control other health problems. If a patient is older than 40 and still working, doctors may opt for radiation therapy to destroy the leukemia.
Surgery is sometimes recommended for people with very serious cases. This type of treatment will destroy the cells from all of the blood cell types in the body. This treatment may be used when the patient is in remission, but then the disease begins to spread to new parts of the body. A bone marrow transplant may also be performed to remove diseased blood cells.
In most cases, a bone marrow transplant is considered a last resort because the drugs used to treat this condition can destroy healthy cells. When the chemotherapy is stopped or the patient stops taking the drugs, there may be nothing that can be done to prevent cancer from coming back. It may be hard for the bone marrow to create the white blood cells that can fight the leukemia. If this is the case, the only hope is to treat the leukemia with drugs that may also destroy the bone marrow.
One of the best ways to help prevent the problem of leukemia is to avoid using APL drugs. Those who use them should talk to their doctors and find out what alternatives are available to treat their symptoms. There are drugs available that may not damage the bone marrow.
If there is no hope, doctors may decide to perform bone marrow transplants. The results of this procedure may be similar to those for children, who have the other forms of leukemia, so doctors may not have to worry about damaging the bone marrow.