It's important that your doctor is experienced in treating people who have chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) or works in consultation with a hematologist oncologist who has experience treating CMML patients.
Types of CMML Treatment
In most cases, CMML can't be cured, but it can be treated. Doctors use several types of treatment for adults with CMML, although there's no one standard drug therapy for the disease:
- Chemotherapy and drug therapy (for patients with the PDGFR-β and TEL gene mutation)
- Stem cell transplantation
- Clinical trials
Finding the Best Treatment Approach
For most CMML patients, the disease is treatable, but not curable, with currently available therapies.
The treatment your doctor recommends is based on several factors, including:
- The nature and extent of your symptoms
- How quickly your disease is progressing and needs to be brought under control
- Your eligibility for stem cell transplantation
- Your overall health
- The effect treatment may have on your quality of life
As you develop a treatment plan with your doctor, be sure to discuss:
- The results you can expect from treatment
- Potential side effects, including long-term and late effects
- The possibility of participating in a clinical trial, where you'll have access to advanced medical treatment that may be more beneficial to you than standard treatment
You may find it helpful to bring a loved one with you to your doctor's visits for support and to take notes and ask follow-up questions. It's a good idea to prepare questions you'd like to ask when you visit your doctor. You can also record your conversations with your doctor and listen more closely when you get home.
Click here to download lists of suggested questions to ask your healthcare providers.
Other Treatment Considerations
If you're age 60 or older, your treatment may vary from standard approaches. For instance, your body may not be able to tolerate toxic chemotherapy drugs or you may have other ailments that are more common as we age. These factors, among others, may make choosing a treatment more complicated.