How treatment is planned

Haematologists follow national and international guidelines for treating CML. Your treatment will be based on these guidelines but tailored to your particular situation.

In most hospitals, a team of specialists decide on the treatment that’s best for you.

This multidisciplinary team (MDT) may include:

  • one or more medical doctors who specialise in diseases of the blood (haematologists)
  • specialist nurses who give information and support.

It may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist or counsellor.

The MDT will take a number of factors into account when advising you on the best course of action, including the phase of your leukaemia and your general health.

You may be invited to take part in a clinical trial of a new treatment for CML.

Giving your consent

Before you have any treatment, your doctor will explain its aims. They will usually ask you to sign a form saying that you give permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you the treatment. No medical treatment can be given without your consent.

Before you are asked to sign the form you should be given full information about:

  • the type and extent of the treatment
  • its benefits and disadvantages
  • any significant risks or side effects
  • any other treatments that may be available.

If you don’t understand what you’ve been told, let the staff know straight away, so they can explain again. Some leukaemia treatments are complex, so it’s not unusual to need repeated explanations.

It’s a good idea to have a relative or friend with you when the treatment is explained, to help you remember the discussion. You may also find it useful to write a list of questions before your appointment.

People sometimes feel that hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it’s important for you to know how the treatment is likely to affect you. The staff should be willing to make time for your questions.

You can always ask for more time if you feel that you can’t make a decision when your treatment is first explained to you.

You are also free to choose not to have the treatment. The staff can explain what may happen if you don’t have it. It’s essential to tell a doctor or the nurse in charge, so they can record your decision in your medical notes. You don’t have to give a reason for not wanting treatment, but it can help to let the staff know your concerns so they can give you the best advice.

Back to Who will be involved in my treatment decision?

Getting a second opinion

There are many reasons for wanting a second opinion about your treatment. Speak to your specialist or GP.

Making a complaint

Talking to your healthcare team can make it easier to cope. If you find talking difficult, there are things you can do.