For many people, chronic myelogenous leukemia is a disease they will live with for years. Many will continue treatment with imatinib indefinitely. Some days, you may feel sick even if you don't look sick. And some days, you may just be sick of having cancer. Self-care measures to help you adjust and cope with a chronic illness include:
- Talk to your doctor about your side effects. Powerful cancer medications can cause many side effects, but those side effects often can be managed with other medications or treatments. You don't necessarily have to tough them out.
- Don't stop treatment on your own. If you develop unpleasant side effects, such as skin rashes or fatigue, don't simply quit your medication without consulting your health care professionals. Likewise, don't stop taking your medications if you feel better and think your disease may be gone. If you stop taking medication, your disease can quickly and unexpectedly return, even if you've been in remission.
- Ask for help if you're having trouble coping. Having a chronic condition can be emotionally overwhelming. Tell your doctor about your feelings. Ask for a referral to a counselor or other specialist with whom you can talk.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia often is a chronic disease and requires long-term treatments. To help you cope with your cancer journey, try to:
- Learn enough about chronic myelogenous leukemia to make decisions about your care. The term "leukemia" can be confusing, because it refers to a group of cancers that affect the bone marrow and blood. Don't waste time gathering information that doesn't apply to your kind of leukemia.
Ask your health care professionals to write down information about your specific disease. Then narrow your search and seek out only trusted, reputable sources, such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
- Turn to family and friends for support. Stay connected to family and friends for support. It can be tough to talk about your diagnosis, and you'll likely get a range of reactions when you share the news. But talking about your diagnosis and passing along information about your cancer can help. So can the offers of practical help that often result.
- Connect with other cancer survivors. Consider joining a support group, either in your community or on the Internet. A support group of people with the same diagnosis can be a source of useful information, practical tips and encouragement.
May 26, 2016
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Chronic myelogenous leukemia