Formulating Questions for Clinicians to Understand a CML Diagnosis


Patients with CML can become an active part of their treatment plan by discussing any questions that come to mind with their providers.

In a discussion with CancerNetwork® at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Claire Saxton, MBA, highlighted different types of questions patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can ask their providers to receive the best possible care.

Saxton, the executive vice president of Insights and Impact at Cancer Support Community, discussed how patients should ask about prior experience their providers have with managing CML, which can help ensure that they are receiving care from experts with knowledge on all the latest advances in the field. Ultimately, she recommended that those with CML should ask their providers any questions that may help them further understand what types of therapy are most suitable for them.


It’s overwhelming when you’re first diagnosed with CML. People get the strangest explanations of what CML is, including, "It’s a good cancer." No cancer is a good cancer. It’s a cancer that’s very treatable, but you’re going to have to be treated for the rest of your life. One question to ask [providers] is, "How many [patients with] CML have you treated?" It’s best to get with a provider who has an understanding of the most recent advances in CML treatment.

Another thing to ask your provider is, "Is there anything particular about my CML that would make one treatment a better option for me than another, and furthermore, is there a clinical trial that’s right for me?" In CML right now, there are some exciting trials to be looking at for your treatment. Those are all big things to be asking at a time when you’re very overwhelmed.

Also, ask every question that comes to mind. There are no stupid questions. If you don’t understand the answer, ask it again. If you’re a visual person, ask [for providers] to write it down or draw it out. Because the important thing is [that CML] is a marathon to get through. The important thing is for you to slowly understand everything well enough so that you can be an active part of your treatment team and help decide what treatments are best for you.

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