Introduction

Blood cancers, or haematological malignancies, are a complex group of diseases linked by their origin in the bone marrow where blood cells are produced.

Learning objectives

After successful completion of this CPD activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Discuss treatment options for chronic myeloid leukaemia
  • Discuss adverse effects, interactions and compliance
  • Discuss the role of the pharmacist.

Competency standards (2016) addressed: 1.5, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5

Treatment for blood cancers has gone through remarkable advances in the past decades with greater understanding of molecular pathology, targeted therapies, immunotherapies and other technologies. As a result, there has been a progressive increase in survival rates in patients diagnosed with blood cancers; some sub-types are now considered chronic diseases. In addition, there is a significant shift from the use of inpatient treatments such as cytotoxic chemotherapy to targeted, precision medicines taken in the community setting. Consequently, community pharmacists will need to acquaint themselves with oral therapies used in common blood cancers.

Pharmacists in the community are increasingly likely to assist patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) as oral targeted medicines play a critical role in therapy. This article will discuss CML.

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Prevalence of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML)

CML is a blood cancer where a majority of malignant cells belongs to the myeloid series of blood cells, including neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils. In Australia, there are approximately 330 new patients diagnosed each year.1 CML is rare in children, and the

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