Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is one of many types of chronic blood cancers that affects a specific type of white cells called “lymphocytes.” Lymphocytes perform many immune functions in the body and help fight infection and spread of tumor to other cells and tissues of the body. They are made in the bone marrow – the soft center of your bones. If someone has CLL, his or her body starts making an abnormally high number of immature lymphocytes – that are not mature enough and therefore don’t function optimally.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is more common in adults (above 40 years of age) than any other type of leukemia. However, compared to other types, it is less aggressive and usually grows slowly, so you may experience signs and symptoms for years.
Studies ad clinical trials have shown that some people never need specific treatment. However, if the condition is diagnosed at earlier stages, and the patient gets specific treatment, it can ease symptoms and slow the disease progression. Of note, people who get medical care have longer survival rates because oncologists are diagnosing CLL earlier.
If you are suffering from a disease, it’s natural to have worries and questions about the condition. You should not have to face things alone. Express your concerns with your friends and family and let them know how they can help. You can also join community/support groups for better understanding and help from other people who have a similar condition. Joining such groups can help to speak to people who are going through similar circumstances and understand what you are going through. And talk to your doctor or health care provider about how to ease your symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia shows several signs and symptoms. Following are some of the common ones;
White blood cells generally fight off infections, but in the case of CLL, they do not fight against infections even when present in a usual or enlarged amount. Other than this, the cancerous white blood cells crowd out the other type of WBCs present in the bone marrow and liver and do not allow the body to guarantee a sufficient supply of WBCs.
As a result, individuals who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia are frequently very susceptible to infections. Mouth, throat, skin, lungs, urinary tract, bladder, and area around the anus are the most common places of infection.