Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a type of cancer that causes blood cells to grow out of control.
If you’ve been diagnosed with CML, it’s important to get treatment from healthcare professionals who specialize in this type of condition. Effective treatment can help slow or stop the progression of the cancer. It may also limit your symptoms and improve your long-term outlook.
Read on to learn more about how you can find the right specialists to get the care you need.
Depending on your treatment needs, several doctors might be involved in managing your condition. For example, your treatment team might include:
- a hematologist-oncologist, who focuses on treating blood cancers
- a medical oncologist, who specializes in using medications to treat cancer
- a palliative care doctor, who’s trained in managing pain and improving quality of life
Your treatment team might also include other healthcare professionals, such as nurse practitioners, oncology nurses, or social workers, among others.
Your primary care doctor or community cancer center can help connect you with doctors and specialists who have experience treating leukemia, including CML.
Online databases are also available to help you find doctors who treat leukemia. For example, you can search use databases operated by the American Society of Hematology and American Society of Clinical Oncology to look for specialists in your state.
If there are no leukemia specialists in your region, your local doctor or nurse practitioner might advise you to travel to another city for treatment. They might also use video conferencing or other technologies to consult with leukemia specialists at a distance.
Before you commit to a new specialist, consider checking their credentials to learn if they’re licensed to practice medicine in your state.
To learn about a doctor’s medical license, you can use the Federation of State Medical Boards’ online database, DocInfo.org. This database also provides information about any disciplinary actions that a doctor might have faced from licensing boards.
If you have health insurance, consider contacting your insurance provider to learn which specialists, treatment centers, and procedures are covered by your insurance plan.
If you visit a healthcare professional or treatment center that falls outside your network of coverage, your bill might be higher. Your insurance provider can help you learn if your preferred specialists and treatment centers are inside your network of coverage. They can also help you learn how much you will have to pay for treatment.
If you don’t have insurance, consider talking to a patient financial counselor or social worker at your treatment center. They can help you learn if you might be eligible for state-sponsored insurance, medicine assistance programs, or other financial support programs.
When you meet with a new specialist, talk to them about your treatment goals and priorities. Let them know how much information you want them to give you about your treatment plan. Some people want to get all the details, while others prefer just the basics.
If you find it hard to communicate with your specialist, they might not be the best fit for you. It’s important to find someone who listens to your questions and concerns. They should try to explain things in a way you can understand.
It might help to:
- make a list of questions or concerns that you have before each visit with a specialist
- take notes during each visit or ask your specialist if you can record the visit
- ask your specialist to speak more slowly or explain things in different ways if you’re having trouble understanding them
- bring a family member, friend, or translator with you, if you think they might be able to help you and your specialist communicate
- ask for written information about your condition and treatment plan
If you’re finding it difficult to manage aspects of your condition, treatment plan, or overall health, let your treatment team know. They might adjust your treatment plan or refer you to another specialist.
If you have concerns about your treatment plan or you’re not sure if a specialist or treatment center is the right fit for you, it’s OK to get a second opinion.
If you decide to get a second opinion, ask your specialist or treatment center to send your health records to the healthcare professional who’s providing the second opinion. You can also send your health records yourself by asking for copies, though you may need to pay a fee.
CML is a chronic condition that may require lifelong treatment to manage. To get the support you need, it’s important to connect with specialized healthcare professionals you trust.
If you have trouble communicating with your treatment team, if you have concerns about your treatment plan, or if you’re not happy with the care you’ve received, it’s OK to get a second opinion. Finding the right specialists can make a big difference to your care.