Leukemia means blood cancer. Blood cancer is of various types like acute and chronic leukemia. They are categorized by the cells they affect, like acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells, and the cancer in which more lymphocytes are produced in bone marrow is called lymphocytic leukemia. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a slow-progressing cancer that mainly affects older adults. Lymphocytic leukemia affects middle-aged persons and is the second most common leukemia.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of blood cancer that makes up one-third of all leukemia cases. In chronic lymphocytic leukemia, abnormal lymphocytes are produced that are unable to carry out the normal function of fighting infections. Still, medical science is not sure about what causes this type of cancer.
The symptoms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia may be masked for a long time. Lymphocytic leukemia is often diagnosed by routine blood tests. Swelling in the lymph nodes, which is painless, generally raises the alarm as presenting symptoms. Weight loss without any obvious reason and recurrent infections are also the signs and symptoms of lymphocytic leukemia. Pain below the ribs and fatigue are other common symptoms, which need further evaluation.
On getting these symptoms, doctors generally advise for further investigations. Some tests like blood examination, bone marrow aspiration, lymph node biopsy, etc. are done to confirm the diagnosis along with these symptoms. Investigations like chest X-ray, MRI, CT scans, etc. are needed to check the spread of cancer. The treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia depends upon the stage of the cancer, results of complete blood count, severity of symptoms, recurrence of this cancer, etc. The prognosis of this cancer also depends upon a lot of factors like whether blood cells have spread throughout bone marrow, recurrence of symptoms, overall health of the patient, and mutations in DNA. Refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia is dangerous type as it does not respond to chemotherapy treatments.
The chemotherapy treatment of this blood cancer is not necessary in initial stages. If the cancer is progressing towards advanced stage only then do doctors advise chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the process in which a drug that is capable of killing the cancer cells is administered. Often, chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously. A single combination of chemotherapy drugs can be advised based on a lot of factors. In some cases, bone marrow transplant is advised. A healthy lifestyle is a must along with chemotherapy treatments for better results.
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