Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a rare type of cancer that affects the bone marrow and white blood cells. It usually develops very slowly.

About chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) develops when the spongy material inside some bones (bone marrow) produces too many myeloid cells – immature white blood cells that are not fully developed and do not work properly. 

The reason for this is not known yet. CML does not seem to run in families or to be linked to smoking, diet, chemicals or infections. 

It is rare and often develops very slowly. It can usually be treated. 

Around 750 people are diagnosed with CML every year in the UK. It can affect people of any age but is more common in people aged 65 and over. 

You might not have any symptoms in the early stages of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). CML is sometimes diagnosed when people have blood tests for something else. 

Symptoms are not always obvious and can be similar to other conditions. If you do have symptoms, they can include:

  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Weight loss (without trying) 
  • Night sweats
  • Bleeding or bruising easily 
  • Paler skin than usual – on brown or black skin this may be easier to see on the palms of your hands or insides of your eyelids
  • Frequent infections 
  • Swollen glands, usually in the neck, armpits and groin
  • Aches and pains in your bones
  • Swollen or tender tummy – especially on the left side
  • Feeling full after small meals
  • Headaches
  • High temperature

Less common symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Swollen or panful joints
  • Painful erections (priapism) or erections that do not go down

See a GP if you have symptoms of CML that do not get better after a couple of weeks. 

Call 999 or go to A&E if you have an erection that lasts more than two hours – it is important to get hospital treatment as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage.  

Diagnosis and treatment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

We accept referrals for diagnosis and treatment of CML and can make laboratory diagnosis from tissue samples which include blood and bone marrow. 

Our CML team also specialise in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).

Our treatments

Treatments are all offered in line with NICE guidelines. We also have an active clinical trials portfolio for CML. 

We have our own on-site stem cell transplant unit for patients with complex disease.

Having treatment

The cancer treatments we offer for CML include:

Clinical trials

Research and trials of new cancer treatments are an important part of our work. Your consultant will tell you about any clinical trials that may be suitable for you.

You are also very welcome to ask us about clinical trials during your appointments. We will be happy to answer any questions you have. 

Some of the services we provide include

  • Clinics in Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Liverpool (CCC-Liverpool) and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Aintree (CCC-Aintree)
  • Outpatient chemotherapy and supportive care in Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool and the Marina Dalglish Centre (Aintree University Hospital)
  • Inpatients on Ward 4 and 5 of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool
  • Blood cancer services to all acute hospitals in Liverpool 
  • Regional support to haematology teams in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales
  • Outreach services to the Isle of Man
  • Clinical trials are delivered at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool 

Our team

Our team is made up of the following members:

  • Consultants 
  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist 
  • Research nurse
  • Clinical scientist
  • Pharmacist
  • Counsellor
  • Clinical trials data coordinators 

Our operational management team and administrative support makes sure the service runs smoothly.

These are the people you are most likely to meet when you come for your clinic appointment or on the inpatient ward.

Our consultants are experts in diagnosing and treating MPN. They will discuss your diagnosis and treatment options (if you need treatment) at all stages.

Many people will be eligible to take part in a research study or clinical trial. Your consultant will tell you if this is an option for you. Please tell us if you are interested in clinical trials. 


Dr Nauman Butt – MPN lead
Dr Rachel Wells 
Dr Tom Seddon 
Dr Shahid Iqbal (Locum)

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

They are there to help and support you as well as coordinate your care in hospital and at home. Your CNS can help you to understand your cancer diagnosis and treatment options and support you through your cancer experience. 

They can help with any problems or questions that you or your family might have. They might also see you in clinic for follow-up appointments. 

Our clinical nurse specialists are:

Lauren Mercer
Katy Knight
Julie Curran (CCC-A)

Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) 

An advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) is a senior specialist nurse. Our ANP is:

Carolyn Parry

Clinical Scientist

Dr Lihui Wang

Senior Pharmacist

Aileen McCaughey

Research Nurse

Lauren Quilty

Patient Counsellor and Clinical Psychologists

Linda Boyne is the counsellor for patients with blood cancer. 

There is a team of clinical psychologists who can offer more advanced psychological support. One of the team will suggest this to you if they feel it is in your best interests. You might then be referred to the psychology specialist team.

Clinical Trials Data Coordinators

Laura Connolly
Tracey Wellman

Further information

Liverpool Haematology Support Group is a local support group for people with blood cancers. It is run by our counsellor Linda Boyne:

Our Cancer Information and Support Centres can provide individualised help and support for patients and families affected by cancer. The team’s main base is in Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool but they also work at our Aintree and Wirral hospitals.

There are also local Macmillan services in other hospitals across our region.

External sites that offer extra support and information about chronic myeloid leukaemia include:

Chronic myeloid leukaemia ( 

Cancer Research UK

Macmillan Cancer Support 

Bloodcancer UK 

Leukaemia Care