Helping Patients Understand CML and Its Treatments

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Patients who recently received a chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis can benefit from initial discussions about treatment, side effects, and study results.

Helping patients navigate a chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) diagnosis may help them gain a deeper understanding about treatment options, side effects, and long-term expectations, an expert said.

Jorge E. Cortes, MD, director of the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University, spoke with Oncology Nursing News at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting about important discussions for newly diagnosed patients with CML.

“The better you understand that initial diagnosis, the better the chances of navigating through the good and the possibly not as good that may happen through the therapy,” he said.

Transcript:

I think that initial discussion is very important. There may be things to consider. No. 1 what are all the treatment options? They all have pros and cons in terms of side effects, the possibility of efficacy, the schedule of administration, the availability of generics or not — all those things are important.

No. 2, what are the goals of therapy? What can I expect? What do the treatments give me, including the possibility of eventually stopping therapy, it's not a reality for everybody, but it is a possibility for everybody, and what improves the chance to get there?

Side effects — what are the known side effects for each drug? And the common ones, the serious ones and the less serious ones that are constant. How do they impact [quality of life]? Some of them happen with all the drugs, some of them are more specific to one drug or the other. So, all of these things are important.

The last one is how do we know that I'm having a good response or not? How do you measure that, what do the results mean [and] what do we do if things are moving in the direction or not? What is the right direction? How do we assess that? All these things are important, because the better you understand that initial diagnosis, the better the chances of navigating through the good and the possibly not as good that may happen through the therapy.

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