Resistance to CML Treatment

It can happen to people who have been treated with the same medication for a while, or to others who just started taking medication for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). People with CML may experience resistance to treatment. Their treatment may lose some of its effectiveness in holding back the growth and spread of their leukemia. If your current treatment doesn't control—and keep controlling—the growth of leukemia cells, there's a risk of your CML progressing.

The fact is, some CML patients can reach and maintain their treatment goals with their initial medication. But for others, their treatment may become less effective over time. If your CML is resistant to your treatment, it may not be your fault.

How do you know if you're becoming resistant?

You're said to be resistant to CML treatment when your medication is unable to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. Your doctor has set individual goals for you based on the general guidelines for a doctor to consider when treating people with CML. The first sign that you're becoming resistant may be when you start missing your recommended treatment milestones. That's why it's so important to make sure you have the right tests at the right time, as specified by your doctor.

What if you don't meet your treatment goals?

Remember, your goals are based on recommended guidelines. Your oncologist may adjust your personal treatment goals over time based on a number of factors, including phase of disease and overall health. At the same time, if you don't meet these treatment goals—or if your CML was under control with your current therapy but your test results now show a loss of response—your doctor may consider other treatment options for you.

Changes you and your doctor can look into together

These days, if you become resistant to your current treatment, your oncologist may talk to you about changing to a different treatment. The important thing is that together you find the one that works best for you.

Don't ever change your dose or stop taking your medication on your own.

Your doctor will take all the factors into account so you can make these decisions together.

This Web site is not meant to replace a discussion with your doctor, who is your most important source for information.

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