Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Also called: CLL

Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. White blood cells help your body fight infection. Your blood cells form in your bone marrow. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells crowd out the healthy blood cells, making it hard for blood to do its work. In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), there are too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

CLL is the second most common type of leukemia in adults. It often occurs during or after middle age, and is rare in children.

Usually CLL does not cause any symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include

  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin
  • Fatigue
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs
  • Fever and infection
  • Weight loss

Tests that examine the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes diagnose CLL. Your doctor may choose to just monitor you until symptoms appear or change. Treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery to remove the spleen, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following features are indicative of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • night sweats
  • weight loss
  • frequent infections
  • pain in the upper left portion of the abdomen
It is possible that Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following are the most common causes of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • mutations in double stranded DNA

Risk Factors for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • older than 60
  • white people
  • family history of blood and bone marrow cancers
  • exposure to agent Orange chemical

Prevention of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

No, it is not possible to prevent Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
  • family inheritance

Occurrence of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • Blood tests: To count the number and type of lymphocytes and abnormalities associated with it
  • Bone marrow biopsy: To diagnose the disease
  • Computerized tomography (CT): To diagnose the disease

Doctor for Diagnosis of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • Hematologist
  • Oncologist

Complications of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia if untreated

Yes, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is left untreated:
  • frequent infections
  • diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • Richter's syndrome
  • increased risk of other cancers
  • weakening of immune system

Procedures for Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following procedures are used to treat Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • Chemotherapy: To kill cancer cells
  • Bone marrow stem cell transplant: To kill the stem cells in bone marrow that are creating diseased lymphocytes

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
  • Do regular exercise: Helps in relieving fatigue
  • Massage therapy: Helps in relieving fatigue
  • Do meditation and yoga: Helps in relieving fatigue
  • Consume green tea extracts: Helps in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Patient Support for Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

The following actions may help Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia patients:
  • Education: Help coping with chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Family and friends for support: Sharing emotional situation help coping with chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Connect with other cancer survivors: Support group of people with the same diagnosis can be a source of useful information, practical tips and encouragement

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Childhood Leukemia
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

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