Despite its name, CML can progress rapidly, but it generally has three phases:
• A chronic phase (less than 5 percent blasts in the peripheral blood or bone marrow), which generally lasts 3 to 5 years.
• An accelerated phase (greater than 5 percent but less than 30 percent blasts in the peripheral blood or bone marrow). This phase can begin gradually or abruptly. Symptoms include fever, night sweats, weight loss, and increase in white blood cell counts.
• A blastic phase (greater than 30 percent blasts in the peripheral blood or bone marrow). Symptoms of blastic phase (also called blast crisis) include fever, fatigue, and enlarged spleen.
Leah, 11 years old, enjoyed participating in basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. She developed severe hip joint pain, and we brought her back to the doctor three times in an unsuccessful attempt to find out what was wrong. The last time, my husband had to carry her in because she couldn't walk. They did blood work, and her white count was 176,000 and her platelets were one million. A bone marrow test confirmed that she had CML.
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