This type of leukemia increases the number of granulocytic (polynuclear) type white cells. It shows itself in fatigue, swelling of spleens, soreness in bones and excessive sweating at night. Pains on the left side of body cause by blood circulation problems within the spleens or getting bruises easily are rare but does happen. Increase production of uric acid by leukemia cells causes kidney stone or gout. It may also invade the central nervous system, resulting in headaches and back pain. Computerized topography and lumbar puncture are needed for diagnosis.
The progress of the disease is separated into 3 stages. Its progress is very stable in the first two years which is the 'Chronic Phase'. At the point where the cells becomes increasingly resistant to treatment, causing the increase or modify of the chemotherapies, is the 'Accelerated Stage'. The final stage is the 'Blastic Stage', which cancerous cells called 'Blasts' are produce. This cell multiply very quickly and 'attacks' many organs, which tells us about their malignant potential.
This is the beginning stage. It is done in a periodic basis in which the stage of the disease is determine through physical examinations, blood test and bone marrow punctures.
White cell count of less then fifty thousand per cubic millimeter and a normal size spleen require no treatment.
Chemotherapy pills (bulsulfan, hydroxyvrea) are use in small doses and periodically if the white cell count is higher than fifty thousand per cubic millimeter or a increase spleen size. Interferon, a nature bio-substance which increases the efficiency of the immune system may also be use.
This is the intermediate stage. Chemotherapy pills are use in higher doses.
This is the advanced stage. Intravenous chemotherapy is used. Radio therapy or intrarachidian is used to help affected central nervous system. These treatments are used together with a drug called allopurinol to prevent excessive amount of uric acid from been produce, which will cause kidney stones and gout.
An allogenic bone marrow transplant is the best solution to give a long term cure to patients. A transplant at the 'chronic stage' gives a seventy percent chance to live pass the five years mark while transplant at the 'accelerated stage' reduces the chance to forty percent. Transplant at the 'plastic stage' only have a fifteen percent chance and the disease have got to be in total control before it can be done.
When no suitable bone marrow is found for transplant, patients have a average lifespan of around 3-5 years. But there are many patients who have lived more than eight years.