ANNOUNCER: It is important for patients to take imatinib as prescribed by their doctor to fight the disease and to guard against resistance. Regularly scheduled monitoring helps doctors and patients know if the medicine is working and if patients are reaching treatment goals.
JORGE CORTES, MD: The issue of monitoring has become more and more relevant, because the better treatment options you have for a patient, the more critical it is that you make sure that the goals that you want for a patient are met, and if not, that you do something to improve that.
CAROLYN BLASDEL, RN, FNP, OCN: Typically when people are diagnosed with CML, their white blood count’s quite high. It could be 50,000, it could be 300,000. But normally within the first month, those counts go back to normal.
ANNOUNCER: Blood tests should be conducted every week or two until patients achieve a complete hematologic response. When blood counts normalize doctors will continue to monitor patients’ progress every six months with cytogenetic testing to check what impact the treatment is having on the underlying disease.
CAROLYN BLASDEL, RN, FNP, OCN: The gold standard for CML is a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration, and with a bone marrow, we can look at what’s actually going on inside the marrow, where blood is produced, and in particular cytogenetics. And CML is caused by a translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22. So when we do a bone marrow biopsy, we’re looking for that. Is it present?