Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia (CLL) Treatment
CLL is type of blood cancer, similar in many ways to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, there are some important differences. First, CLL is rarer than ALL, with about 200,000 cases in the United States every year. Also, CLL progresses more slowly than ALL. It may take several years before symptoms even become apparent. Furthermore, CLL is rare in children and is most common in adults over the age of 40.
The exact cause of the majority of CLL cases is undetermined. However, there are certain risk factors that, when present, may increase the likelihood of developing CLL:
- Exposure to pesticides and certain other chemicals
- Family history of leukemia or other blood malignancies
- Advanced age
CLL is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal lymphocytes, specifically B cells, which cannot function properly. These lymphocytes take space and resources away from other blood cells, such as red blood cells and platelets, leading to a compromised immune system. Therefore, patients are subject to frequent and severe infections.
CLL typically progresses very slowly. Many patients are not even aware they have the disease until they have a routine blood cell count that shows a problem. Even if symptoms appear, patients often attribute them to another cause, especially since the majority of CLL patient are elderly and often have other medical conditions.
Signs and symptoms of CLL include:
- Frequent infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Enlarged and/or painful spleen
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Night sweats
Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment in Israel
Dr. Abraham Kneller is the coordinator of the CLL unit within the Department of Hematology.
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