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Will I experience side effects from my treatment?
Experiences with treatments will also vary from person to person. Most people will experience some of the common treatment side effects, while others may experience rare side effects or not have any side effects at all. While most side effects can be managed without having to stop therapy, certain ones can be life threatening.
How will I feel during treatment?
Gleevec—Side effects include nausea, acid reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, skin rashes, and bone and joint pain. Some people may have weight gain and swelling, particularly around the eyes, hands and feet.
Chemotherapy—Side effects vary with the type of chemotherapy and may include mouth and throat sores, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, bruising, infection, fatigue and shortness of breath. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause a loss of libido and/or fertility.
Interferon—Side effects may include flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle aches and headache, as well as numbness, GI disturbances, mood disturbances and skin reactions.
High-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation —High dose chemotherapy can destroy healthy blood cells as well as leukemia cells in the marrow and therefore can result in infections (due to low white cell counts), anemia (due to low red cell counts) and bleeding (due to low platlet counts). Stem cells from a donor can result in graft-versus-host disease, which is an immune reaction to the donor's cells.
Hydroxyurea—Side effects may include skin rashes, stool changes and urinary symptoms. People taking the medication long term are at higher risk for skin cancer.
How can the side effects of CML treatments be managed?
Will I need to make changes in my family or social life because of the side effects of treatment?
How you can prepare for this discussion?