Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)?

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, is a type of blood cancer. It involves lymphocytes—white blood cells that help fight infections.

When you have CLL, abnormal lymphocytes build up in the blood and bone marrow. Over time, these abnormal cells crowd the healthy cells. The result is:

  • Fewer healthy white blood cells
  • Fewer red blood cells
  • Fewer blood platelets

This leads to problems such as infection, anemia, and excess bruising and bleeding.

Abnormal lymphocytes may also build up in lymph nodes, the liver, or the spleen (an organ in your abdomen). This can lead to swelling of these organs.

Where CLL may occur

More people have CLL than any other type of leukemia.

In the United States, about 120,000 people are living with or are in remission from CLL. And more than 15,000 new cases are expected each year.

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