Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (also called CLL) is a blood and bone marrow disease that usually gets worse slowly. CLL is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults. It often occurs during or after middle age and rarely occurs in children. In CLL, too many blood stem cells become abnormal lymphocytes and do not become healthy white blood cells. The abnormal lymphocytes may also be called leukemia cells. The lymphocytes are not able to fight infection very well. Also, as the number of lymphocytes increases in the blood and bone marrow, there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may cause infection, anemia and easy bleeding.
Signs & Symptoms
Usually CLL does not cause any signs or symptoms and is found during a routine blood test. Signs and symptoms may be caused by CLL or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin.
- Feeling very tired.
- Pain or fullness below the ribs.
- Fever and infection.
- Weight loss for no known reason.
There are five types of standard treatment. Your OHC doctor will help you determine the best care plan for you.
- Watchful waiting is closely monitoring a patient’s condition without giving any treatment until signs or symptoms appear or change. This is also called observation. During this time, problems caused by the disease, such as infection, are treated.
- Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing
- Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
- Splenectomy is surgery to remove the spleen.
- Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.