Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: “A Type of Cancer with High Life Expectancy”
The treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia “is probably one of the cases of higher success in modern medicine” – highlighted António Medina de Almeida, haematologist from Hospital da Luz Lisboa, in TV show “Bom dia, Portugal”, broadcasted at RTP1 on February 4, the World Cancer Day.
Chronic myeloid leukemia “presents a high number of white cells” in the blood and is a disease that “evolves rather slowly”, in most cases detected in routine tests, explained the haematologist, adding that it is more frequent around 50-60 years old. Being hard to prevent, like in many cases of cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia is under study for many years now: “it was possible to find out that there is a small molecule in cells with chronic myeloid leukemia that acts as a ‘driver’, promoting the uncontrolled division of the blood cells and causing the disease. There were also found small molecules, that act as medication today and are able to inhibit cell division”.
The treatment of this kind of leukemia is “based on oral medication, specific to the disease, having less side effects than chemotherapy and transplant”, further clarified António Medina de Almeida. Therefore, while by the end of the 20th century these patients had a life expectancy of only five years, “today, their life expectancy is considered normal”.