ON THIS PAGE: You will learn more about coping with the physical, emotional, social, and financial effects of leukemia and its treatment. This page includes several links outside of this guide to other sections of this website. Use the menu to see other pages.
Every treatment can cause side effects or changes to your body and how you feel. For many reasons, people do not experience the same side effects even when they are given the same treatment for the same type of leukemia. This can make it hard to predict how you will feel during treatment.
As you prepare to start treatment, it is normal to be worried about treatment-related side effects. It may help to know that your health care team will work to prevent and relieve side effects. Doctors call this part of treatment “palliative care” or "supportive care." It is an important part of your treatment plan, regardless of your age or the phase of disease.
Coping with physical side effects
Common physical side effects from each treatment option for CML are described within the Types of Treatment section. Learn more about side effects of leukemia and its treatment, along with ways to prevent or control them. Changes to your physical health depend on several factors, including the leukemia’s phase, the length and dose of treatment, and your general health.
Sometimes, physical side effects can last after treatment ends. Doctors call these long-term side effects. They call side effects that occur months or years after treatment late effects. Treating long-term side effects and late effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more by reading the Follow-up Care section of this guide or talking with your doctor.
Coping with emotional and social effects
You can have emotional and social effects as well as physical effects after a CML diagnosis. This may include dealing with difficult emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, or anger, or managing stress. Sometimes, patients and their families have problems expressing how they feel to their loved ones, or people do not know what to say in response.
Patients and their families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team. You can also find coping strategies for emotional and social effects in a separate section of this website. This section includes many resources for finding support and information to meet your needs.
Coping with financial effects
Treatment for leukemia can be expensive. It is often a big source of stress and anxiety for people with CML and their families. In addition to treatment costs, many people find they have extra, unplanned expenses related to their care. They may also find they need to take more time off from work than expected for appointments. For some people, the high cost stops them from following or completing their cancer treatment plan. Not taking CML treatment as needed can cause the disease to worsen, putting their health at risk. It may also lead to higher costs in the future. Patients and their families are encouraged to talk about financial concerns with a member of their health care team and ask if there are financial resources available that could help cover some costs. Learn more about managing financial considerations and finding financial resources in a separate part of this website.
Caring for a loved one with CML
Family members and friends often play an important role in taking care of a person with CML. This is called being a caregiver. Caregivers can provide physical, practical, and emotional support to the patient, even if they live far away.
Caregivers may have a range of responsibilities on a daily or as-needed basis. Below are some of the responsibilities caregivers take care of:
Providing support and encouragement
Helping manage symptoms and side effects
Coordinating medical appointments
Providing a ride to appointments
Assisting with meals
Helping with household chores
Handling insurance and billing issues
Learn more about caregiving.
Talking with your health care team about side effects
Before starting treatment, talk with your doctor about possible side effects. Ask:
Which side effects are most likely?
When are they likely to happen?
What can we do to prevent or relieve them?
If I develop side effects, when and how should I contact my health care team?
Be sure to tell your health care team about any side effects that happen during treatment and afterward, too. Tell them even if you don’t think the side effects are serious. This discussion should include physical, emotional, and social effects of CML.
Also, ask how much care you may need at home and with daily tasks during and after treatment. This can help you make a caregiving plan.
The next section in this guide is Follow-up Care. It explains the importance of continuing regular checkups. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.