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Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: what it is and how to treat it


Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia is one of the most common forms of leukemia. Let's find out how to recognize it through the symptoms and what are the treatments.

When we talk about chronic myelomonocytic leukemia we mean a blood disease that involves the increase of a specific group of white blood cells which are monocytes . It is a disease that lies somewhere between chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms and myelodysplastic syndromes.
Its severity is usually established based on the estimation of symptoms and some blood values.
Usually predominantly male, it is estimated that it is a disease that usually occurs around 70 years of age.

Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: symptoms to recognize

Although CMML leukemia is one of the most common forms of this type of leukemia, it is in any case a rare form which, as already mentioned, usually occurs in adulthood.


The first symptoms that can be an alarm bell are quite common but if seen together they can be a first clue. Among those to definitely consider are:

– Tiredness
– Weight loss
– Night sweats
– Pain in the bones
– Heaviness in the abdomen

In most cases, precisely because of the "simplicity" of the symptoms often associated with many other problems, this form of leukemia is discovered by chance following other routine checks or during blood tests. To these, we then add the peripheral blood smear , bone marrow sampling and other tests such as ultrasounds, x-rays, etc…

For the causes, on the other hand, at the moment they are not yet known with certainty, although it is always recommended not to expose oneself to radioactive sources, considered deleterious for any pathology of this type.

How is this type of leukemia treated?

For chronic muelomonocytic leukemia, life expectancy has significantly increased in recent years and in particular thanks to the arrival of new, more powerful drugs . In fact, it is estimated that if until recently, the mortality rate was estimated within two years of the onset of the disease, today over 90% of people arrive well after 5 years of diagnosis. And all in a framework that is improving quite quickly.

Obviously, for an adequate prognosis much also depends on the severity and progress of the disease at the time it is discovered. And this can usually be deduced from a whole series of tests done at the moment. Going instead to the possible treatments for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, the therapy currently considered the most decisive is that which involves the allogeneic transplantation of stem cells from a healthy donor. However, it is a remedy that is not suitable for everyone and for which it is necessary to meet certain requirements.

Alternatively, there are new drugs that are increasingly able to help slow down the course of the disease. Added to these are also experimental therapies which must be agreed together with the haematologist as they must be chosen on the basis of the level of the disease and other specific characteristics.

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