To investigate the experiences of adults living with chronic myeloid leukaemia and treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, with particular reference to factors influencing adherence. A thematic synthesis of all published qualitative studies examining adults with chronic myeloid leukaemia, receiving tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Eligible publications were identified by searching five electronic databases using defined criteria. The synthesis involved complete coding of extracted data and inductive theme development. Nine studies were included and three overarching themes defined. Overarching themes were: 1) Disease impacts whole life; 2) Disease management strategies; and 3) Valued aspects of care. Side-effects often required physical and psychological adaptation. Patients developed individual decision-making processes to promote adherence and manage side effects. Unintentional non-adherence occurred due to forgetfulness and system failures. Intentional omission also occurred, which together with side effects, was unlikely to be reported to healthcare professionals (HCPs). HCP reassurance about missed doses could reinforce non-adherence. Information needs varied over time and between individuals. Knowledge among patients about treatment was often lacking and could lead to misunderstandings. Patients valued psychological support from HCPs and suggested an individualised approach, facilitating discussion of symptoms, adherence and their perspectives about living with chronic myeloid leukaemia, would improve care. Patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia experienced significant side-effects from treatment and changes to their psychological and physical well-being. They developed their own strategies to manage their disease and treatment. This should be recognised in interventions to improve education, support and the delivery of care that is compassionate and adequately resourced. Crown Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.