The leukemia is a type of blood cancer that originates from the bone marrow (within the bone) and then spreads throughout the body through the bloodstream. It has a characteristic chromosomal alteration (cells of the body in which the genes are found) that represents its therapeutic objective.
“Leukemias are classified into acute and chronic, the acute ones evolve rapidly and deteriorate the patient in a few weeks. In contrast, the type of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) has the characteristic of being slow (chronic) and deteriorates the patient slowly” explains the oncologist Víctor Mallma.
According to data from the National Institute of Neoplastic Diseases (INEN), in Peru 30 to 35 cases are diagnosed each year, of which more than 65% correspond to the male sex and around 50% are young patients.
The symptoms are diverse and non-specific, it can usually present itself progressive tiredness, weakness, bone pain, feverweight loss, early feeling of fullness when eating, abdominal pain (due to spleen growth), blurred vision, headache, among others.
The specialist indicates that the first step is to take an adequate clinical history by a doctor trained in these pathologies. In addition, as part of the laboratory analysis, a blood count must be performed to diagnose the disease, this test shows if there are alterations in the blood, which is finally corroborated with a bone marrow aspirate (removal of a small amount of bone marrow tissue in the form of liquid for analysis).
In recent years there has been a radical change thanks to the publication of new studies of targeted treatment. It was discovered, for example, that Chronic Myeloid Leukemia tumor cells contain an abnormal gene (BCR-ABL), which drives the development and progression of the disease.
The treatment that is used is aimed at blocking this gene with Kisana tyrosine inhibitors (TKI) which are oral medications (pills) that the patient must take indefinitely and with this the majority can have a long survival just like a diabetic or hypertensivemaintaining a good quality of life.