Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. This treatment is not used much for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The reason is because chemotherapy is seldom successful in eliminating the cells that have the Philadelphia chromosome, which almost all people with CML have in their leukemia cells. But chemotherapy can often control the white-blood-cell count.
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. That means the drugs travel all through your body in your bloodstream. It works in a variety of ways. It may disrupt cell growth. Or it may keep cells from reproducing. Or it may cause your immune system to destroy cancer cells. The first goal of chemotherapy is to kill enough leukemia cells to put the disease into remission and keep it there. Remission is when there is no longer a sign of the disease.
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