Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML Leukemia)

August 14th, 2013

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML Leukemia) is an uncommon form of leukemia. It is usually observed in adults and rarely seen in people below forty years of age. It is a cancer that starts in the blood marrow. Bone marrow is a tissue found inside bones that helps create blood cells. Immature cells are produced by bone marrow which goes on to become white blood cells.

The term chronic, in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, refers to the slow buildup of the cancer. It builds up in the body over a long period of time. Most people who are affected by this cancer don’t show symptoms until much later. It can be years before the buildup actually starts showing symptoms. Over a period of time this cancer can affect other organs in the body. It can also change into acute leukemia which is a fast growing version of the cancer.

 

Understanding Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in Detail

In this form of leukemia there is a rapid growth of white blood cells produced by the bone marrow. Though it is usually seen during or after middle age, it has sometimes been observed in children. Bone marrow typically makes blood stem cells. These are immature cells. Over a period of time the blood stem cells mature and go on to form other types of cells.

They may become a myeloid stem cell or they may become a lymphoid stem cell. Lymphoid stem cells then mature and go on to become white blood cells. The myeloid stem cell goes on to become one of the following three cells. They may become red blood cells. These carry oxygen and other elements to the body’s tissues. They may become platelets. These are responsible for clotting of blood. When you get a cut, the platelet will form blood clots to stop the bleeding. Or, finally, they may become granulocytes. These are white blood cells. They help the body fight infections and diseases.

When a person has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, too the number of white blood cells of the type called granulocyte increases dramatically. These granulocytes are not normal white blood cells. They are abnormal white blood cells and do not go on to mature into healthy white blood cells. For this reason they are also called Leukemia cells. The leukemia cells build up rapidly in the blood. They also build up rapidly in the bone marrow. This leaves lesser room for the other healthy blood cells such as the white blood cells, red blood cells and the blood platelets.

White blood cells are primarily responsible for fighting infections. When their numbers go down, the body’s immunity is reduced. People can become prone to infections and diseases. Red blood cells are primarily responsible for carrying oxygen to the body tissues. When their numbers are reduced, people become anemic. Platelets are responsible for clotting of blood. When the platelet count in the blood is reduced, blood does not clot. Any cuts and wounds will bleed heavily. Nose bleeds and bleeding of the gums is common.

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Symptoms of CML Leukemia is the first type of leukemia that was identified to be directly associated with what is called the Philadelphia chromosome. The stem cells in the bone marrow have a genetic mutation. This mutation is basically a damage that happens after birth. A part of the chromosome breaks off and attaches itself to another chromosome. This is called a translocation.

Normally the body has a tight control on the number of white blood cells. Usually when under attack by an infection, the body increases the production of white blood cells. When the infection is cured, the number of white blood cells decreases. But the mutation of the chromosomes leaves the body in a state of high production of white blood cells.

Other causes of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia are exposure to radiation. Exposure to radiation may occur in several ways. It can happen during a nuclear disaster. Radiation is also used to treat cancer patients. It usually takes years for leukemia to result as an outcome of exposure to radiation. When a person is exposed to radiation as a cure for cancer, most chances are that he will no develop Symptoms of CML Leukemia. It has also been observed that most people who suffer from this form of leukemia have not been exposed to radiation.

As mentioned earlier, it takes years for symptoms to show. It is a very slow disease and has several phases. Sometimes Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Causes does not have any symptoms at all. But common symptoms include feeling tired all the time. Some people have reported weight loss. These people lost weight for no known reason. There was no change in their diet and they ate normally and yet lost weight. Night sweats and fever are also a symptom of this disease.

Treatment of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Blood and bone marrow testing is done to detect this disease. Physical checks such as a general health check may also be used. A patient’s medical history, habits are taken into account. Another procedure to detect this disease is complete blood count. A blood sample is taken from a patient. This is the checked to see the number of red blood cells and platelets. It also checks the number of white blood cells. Hemoglobin levels are checked.

To treat this disease the first step involves giving a patient a medicine called Gleevec. It is a pill that is orally administered. There are also newer medications. It all depends on the phase of the disease. The disease typically has three phases. The slowest phase is the chronic phase. This is also the easiest phase to treat a patient. Unfortunately, this is the phase in which patients don’t have any symptoms.

The next phase of the disease is the accelerated phase. This is where it begins to spread rapidly. Chemotherapy may be used in this phase. The last phase is the blast phase. Once a person is in the blast phase of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Stages, it is very difficult to treat.

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CLL Leukemia or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

August 12th, 2013

One common cancer observed in middle aged people is CLL Leukemia .There is several types of cancers. Each of these types is specific to the type of person it hits. Some are common in babies. Others are common in teenagers. There are others that hit middle aged people. There are also cancers that are only seen affecting old people. Some types of cancer don’t depend on age. They might be gender specific.

There are cancers that affect only men. And then there are others that affect only women. This has to do with biology’s sometimes. For example, only men can get prostate cancer. Similarly, breast cancer is usually observed in women. There have been instances of men getting breast cancer. But these are too rare. Research shows that the most common type of cancer found in adults is Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia.

How Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Attacks

This is a slow disease. It attacks the human body in a slow manner. Rarely seen in children it is usually observed people past their middle age. This is a cancer of the blood and blood marrow. Usually, in the human body, blood cells are formed in the form of stem cells. As these mature over time, they can mutate to form different blood cells. They can eventually evolve into lymphoid stem cells, or they can evolve to myeloid stem cells.

The myeloid stem cells again can grow to become three different types of blood cells. The first type is the red blood cell or RBCs as they are commonly known. The second type is the white blood cells or WBCs as they are commonly called. The third type is called platelets. These usually help when you have cuts. They help in clotting the blood. This stops the cuts from clotting.

The other type of blood stems cells, the lymphoid stem cells, also go through their own phases of mutation and evolution. They too become three different types of cells. The first type is called the B Lymphocytes. These B lymphocytes are the blood cells that are responsible for creating antibodies in the blood. The second types they convert to be called T Lymphocytes. They again help the earlier strain fight infections. The third type is the natural killer cells. They usually attack diseases and conditions such as cancer and viruses.

What usually happens when a person has CLL Leukemia Symptoms is that a lot of the blood stem cells start becoming lymphocytes which show abnormal qualities. These lead them to be called blood cancer cells or leukemia cells. For one thing, fighting infection isn’t the best strength the lymphocytes have. Added to that, they grow in numbers. They grow to such an extent that they reduce the production of other healthy blood cells. As their numbers increase in the blood and bone marrow, the production of other cells such as red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells decreases. This leads to other conditions. Some common conditions include infection, as the number of WBCs is reduced. People bleed a lot easier as platelets is reduces. Anemia is another condition caused by reduction of RBCs.

Risks and Signs of Stages CLL Leukemia

Medical professionals often have a few clarifications when they want to advise people. They ask people in middle age to get themselves regularly for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The medical professionals usually list out the risks and symptoms. But they are quick to point out that risks do not mean you have this condition.

Your lifestyle usually decides your risk factor. Just because you meet all the risk factors doesn’t mean you have, or are at the risk of getting CLL Leukemia. It only means the lifestyle you’re leading has been observed to have a high risk of contracting this condition.  At the same time just because you don’t have any of the symptoms or risks listed here, it does not mean you will not have this condition. There are no guarantees.

One particulars risk factor that has been observed is that it is increasingly common among white males. Especially if they are middle aged. The other common factor is that it is more common among people who have a hereditary history of having Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Another observation is that it is more prevalent in eastern European Jews. It is especially common in Russian Jews.

The signs of CLL Leukemia are many. Some are common everyday feelings and issue. Others may not be so common. That is what causes this condition to be very difficult to expect. Unless someone specifically goes in for a blood test it is never discovered. That too is discovered if a person only goes in for a test to see if he or she has the condition.

Difficulties of Reporting Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

There are different ways to check for this. One must go check for the condition if one sees swelling of the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes around the neck, stomach, underarm or groin are usually swollen when one is affected by this condition. Felling tired all the time is another factor. Though this feeling can result from several other issues, it one of the conditions that one observes in people with Leukemia CLL Prognosis.

The other problem with detecting CLL Leukemia is the symptoms it has that are usually common. Most common diseases have similar symptoms. Take one symptom for example. Pain or fullness below the ribs is a symptom of this condition. But this can very easily be caused by gas. A bloated or fullness feeling can result from having a wrong meal. Extra oily food or too much bread can cause a person to feel this.

The other reasons that are confusing are fever, infection and weight loss. Fever and infection are a common human condition.  This is what a symptom of this condition is usually. It becomes very difficult to differentiate this condition. Weight loss is another. This can happen due to a variety of reasons. CLL Leukemia Symptoms makes this very difficult to detect.

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CLL Leukemia Risk Factors

August 11th, 2013

Knowing the risk factors for any kind of disease can help people watch out for symptoms and be on the lookout for signs. When it comes to cancer, which is a disease that is in many ways life-threatening, it’s best to be informed about certain risk factors.

If you know you are at risk of developing chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), this will make you more wary and vigilant. CLL Leukemia, like all other types of leukemia, usually have symptoms that manifest later in the progression of the disease, so it is best to be informed early on if certain risk factors exist.

Heredity

One risk factor for the disease is family history. Parents, children or siblings of patients with CLL Leukemia are more at risk for the disease than others. It doesn’t even have to be CLL, because if you have a family history of any kind of blood or bone marrow cancer, you are still at risk of developing CLL.

Age, Gender and Race

Aside from family history, some other factors play a role in making CLL more risky for others. CLL Leukemia is more common among older patients. For some reason, most of the people that are diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia are aged between 50 and 60 or even older. Clearly, age is one of the more serious risk factors.

Gender is another risk factor, because men have been found to be affected by CLL more than women. Race or ethnicity also plays a part because CLL is more common in people of European, Russian or North American descent than Asians and Africans. In fact, the incidence of CLL among Asian people is pretty low.

Environment

Another risk factor that people should watch out for is the exposure to certain chemicals. Some studies have shown that people exposed to Agent Orange, which is one of the chemicals used during the Vietnam War, were at risk for CLL. So, if you have been exposed to the chemical, then your risk increases.

Prolonged exposure to some other chemical herbicides and insecticides have been said to increase your risk factor as well, although there are no clear studies to really prove this.

What You Can Do

While these risk factors increase the possibility of being diagnosed with CLL, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to develop CLL for sure. It also doesn’t mean that if you don’t have any risk factor, you won’t get CLL at all.  Risk factors are there to guide people and encourage them to watch out for signs and symptoms as well as to reduce the risk, not to scare them.

The important thing with knowing about these risk factors is that you can actually make wiser decisions about your lifestyle and you can also be on the lookout for signs. But knowing the risk factors for CLL Leukemia shouldn’t’ prevent you from living a full life. The last thing you want to happen is to be overly wary and cautious just because you have one of the risk factors mentioned.

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CLL Leukemia Treatment Options

August 10th, 2013

Once a patient is diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL, the next step is to determine how the disease should be treated. Treatment options for CLL Leukemia can vary, depending on how advanced the stage of the disease is, as well as factors like age and symptoms. Since this type of leukemia is chronic, it can affect a patient for a very long time, and physicians often wait for the disease to reach a certain level before beginning treatment.

Staging

Treating CLL Leukemia begins with proper staging, or determining what stage the disease is in. Whether the staging system used is the Rai system or the Binet system, the process of staging basically separates patients to low, intermediate and high-risk groups. These stages determine the kind of treatment that physicians will administer in order to fight the diseases.

Treatment

  • For Low Risk CLL

Patients in this stage of CLL Leukemia have an abnormal lymphocyte count but their red blood cells and platelets are normal. Their lymph nodes or organs aren’t enlarged, so for this group, prognosis is often very positive. However, the condition has to be monitored frequently in order to ensure that it doesn’t progress. Some physicians opt to do chemotherapy combined with monoclonal antibody therapy (rituximab) even at this stage.

  • For Intermediate CLL and High Risk CLL

In the intermediate level of CLL, there are too many lymphocytes found in the blood and the lymph nodes, and the spleen and liver may be larger than normal. When the CLL is in its advanced stages, aside from too many lymphocytes and enlarged lymph nodes and organs, the red blood cell and platelet count is usually too low. The treatment options for this stage include chemotherapy and monoclonal antibody therapy, usually with the following drugs:

    • Fludarabine
    • Bendamustine
    • FR: a combination of fludarabine and rituximab
    • FCR: a combination of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab
    • PCR: a combination of pentostatin, cyclophosphamide and rituximab
    • CVP: a combination of cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone
    • CHOP: a combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone

Variations in Treatment

While these are the most common treatment options physicians normally use, sometimes other drugs and drug combinations are also explored. The treatment will certainly vary not only when it comes to the level or stage of the disease but also on various factors. For instance, if the only clear symptom or problem is the enlargement of organs (i.e. spleen) and lymph nodes, then the physician could recommend radiation therapy in low doses.

One option is the actual removal of the spleen through surgery, also known as splenectomy. Another option for treatment is leukapheresis, which removes the high numbers of leukemia cells in the body even before chemotherapy begins.

These treatment options for CLL Leukemia are initial treatments, but there are cases when the initial interventions no longer work and the leukemia comes back. In cases like this, physicians resort to second-line treatment options, which will also depend on what type of treatment or drug was used initially.

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CLL Leukemia Diagnosis

August 9th, 2013

If you want to avoid certain diseases that affect the functionalities of the body, it begins with recognizing and arresting the abnormalities. You can’t fight a disease without first diagnosing it properly, and this is why it’s important for patients to see their doctors regularly. There are some diseases like CLL Leukemia that don’t really show a lot of symptoms especially in the early stages, and these are the types of diseases people really need to watch out for.

Also known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), this cancer of the blood occurs when there is an abnormal increase in the leukocytes or the white blood cells. Typically, white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow to release antibodies that fight against diseases and infection. However, when its production gets out of control and you have way too many leukocytes, this affects the normal blood cells and can be a sign of CLL.

Tests Needed to Make a Proper Diagnosis

For CLL Leukemia to be diagnosed properly, physicians usually conduct a series of tests so they can study the composition of the blood. Depending on the physician and on how advanced the CLL is, here are some of the most usual tests needed:

  1. Complete blood count (CBC) – Conducting a routine CBC enables the physician to count the number of white blood cells, particularly lymphocytes, in the blood. If the CBC exhibits a high number (more than 10,000 lymphocytes per cubic millimeter of blood) of B cells, a type of lymphocyte that makes antibodies, then this could be an indication of CLL.
  1. Peripheral blood smear – This test takes a sample of your blood and examines it under a microscope. If a patient has CLL the blood smear will typically contain smudge cells or lymphocytes that exhibit abnormal characteristics.
  1. Immunophenotyping or Flow Cytometry – Even if the CBC shows an abnormal increase in the number of lymphocytes, this test can help determine whether this is due to CLL or some other blood disorder. Sometimes, this could simply be the body’s reaction to infection.
  1. Fluorescence in situ hybridization – This test examines the lymphocytes even more closely and studies the chromosomes inside it. If abnormalities are found, this information could be useful in determining the treatment plan.
  1. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy – In some cases, blood tests are enough to diagnose CLL Leukemia. However, a bone marrow biopsy will determine how serious and how advanced the leukemia is.
  1. Computed tomography (CT) scan – A CT scan can also help by showing whether your lymph nodes or other organs (like the spleen) are enlarged or swollen, which is another symptom associated with CLL.

After Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with CLL Leukemia is only the beginning, because the next step is for the physician to confirm what stage of the disease a patient is in. Determining whether you’re in the early, intermediate or advanced stage will also dictate the treatment options that are available to fight the disease.

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How to Reduce Your Risk of CLL Leukemia

August 8th, 2013

As of the moment, there is no definitive cure for CLL Leukemia. The overall treatment goal for CLL Leukemia is to bring about a remission.  When in remission, symptoms and signs of the cancer will most likely disappear.

However, there is a chance that the cancer may still be lingering in the body. It is not uncommon for the symptoms and signs to reappear and this is called a relapse. All patients who have successfully undergone a remission are expected to eventually fall into relapse. However, further treatment could continue the remission and delay the relapse.

Most types of cancer can be prevented with lifestyle changes that avoid certain risk factors. However, for CLL Leukemia, risk factors are few and little known.

CLL Risk Factors

Risk factors are circumstances or events that may lead to further increased risk of developing a disease. Risk factors do not, however, predict the whole outcome of getting a disease. They are mainly guidelines. For example, two individuals who share the same ancestry or circumstances may have different outcomes where one would develop CLL and the other would not.

Chemical Exposure

An herbicide called Agent Orange that was used in the Vietnam War has been linked to Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Long-term pesticide use or exposure has also been studied to be a risk factor. An increased risk factor is the continued use of hair dye, although this is not yet conclusive.

Over-Exposure to Radiation

Known to increase other types of Leukemia, but not with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, however, a study has shown that Czech uranium miners exposed with Radon had an increased risk of CLL Leukemia.

Family History

Having a close relative such as a parent or sibling who already has CLL increases your chance of developing one yourself. There’s also a race factor, since having relatives who are Eastern European Jews or Russian Jews could also increase risk.

Gender

According to researchers, men are twice more likely to develop CLL than women.

Ethnicity

In countries like Australia, USA and most European countries CLL Leukemia is more prominent than other leukemia cases. People of North American and European descent are at greater risk for CLL. It is very uncommon for Chinese and Southeast Asian people to have CLL, although there are cases in Japan. White people are more at risk than black people.

Health

Studies show that men with diabetes have twice the risk of developing CLL. On the other hand, women who also have diabetes do not have an increased risk. Being obese has been linked to an increased risk for CLL.

Other medical conditions that pose an increased risk of CLL are:

  • Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia
  • Chronic Osteoarthritis
  • Pneumonia
  • Prostatitis
  • Shingles Infection
  • Sinusitis

As most of the known and still studied risk factors for CLL Leukemia are unavoidable, a continuing and solid treatment plan would still be the ideal outcome for the achievement of remission and the continued delay of a relapse.

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CLL Leukemia Life Expectancy

August 7th, 2013

CLL Leukemia or chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a blood disease involving the bone marrow. It is a disorder in which immunologically less mature lymphocytes are also morphologically mature. This means that while the lymphocytes or white blood cells are already mature in form and structure, they are less able to provide an appropriate immune response.

Data from the 1970s to the 1990s placed the survival media rate of patients as ranging from 8 to 12 years.  In 2013, the estimated new cases and deaths from CLL in the United States stand at:

New cases: 15,680

Deaths: 4,578

Life Expectancy

CLL Leukemia can slowly progress but it has been noted that an average of 5 to 7 or more years can be considered for life expectancy. However, the continued revolution of treatments and therapy for CLL has taken center stage, increasing the life expectancy of those who are diagnosed. The treatment plan of a patient from his/her doctor, if followed strictly, could determine the outcome of the success rate.

A patient’s life expectancy depends on various factors:

  • Health – this is a major factor in determining the predictive life expectancy for CLL Leukemia patients. Should a patient have pancreatic cancer, the life expectancy goes lower, and life expectancy will be measured in months instead of years.
  • Age – children have a higher life expectancy rate compared to younger adults. Younger adults have a higher life expectancy rate compared to older adults over the age of 60.
  • Severity of Illness – life expectancy differs depending on the diagnosed stage of CLL Leukemia
  • Treatment – in 1960, all types of leukemia had a five-year survival rate of about 14%. Due to scientific progress in treatments and therapy, the five-year survival rate has now increased by 50%.

Rai Stage System

The National Cancer Institute advises distinguishing CLL leukemia patients by life expectancy into three groups using the Rai Stage System.

Low-Risk Group

Rai Stage 0

Patients are expected to have an average life expectancy of 14 years or more.

Intermediate-Risk Group

Rai Stage 1

Patients have an average life expectancy of around 8 years or more.

Rai Stage 2

Patients have an average life expectancy that could range from 5-6 years or more.

High-Risk Group

Rai Stage 3

Patients have an average life expectancy of around 3-4 years

Rai Stage 4

Patients have an average life expectancy of 3 years

Indolent CLL

  • Some patients diagnosed with CLL have an “indolent” or idle disease.
  • They have a long double time of peripheral lymphocyte count (more than 1 year).
  • They have the best survival rate of 8 years or more, up to a normal life span, without need for any kind of therapy.

CLL Leukemia has a large variation of patient survival ranging from several months to normal life expectancy, depending on the stage of the diseases and the personal circumstances. As such, treatment must be individualized and based solely on the clinical behavior of CLL.

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Stages of CLL Leukemia

August 6th, 2013

CLL Leukemia, also known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, is the most common type of leukemia experienced by adults. Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells or leukocytes. CLL Leukemia affects the B bell lymphocytes – cells that come from the bone marrow, developing in the lymph nodes, and normally fights infections by producing antibodies.

When diagnosed with CLL, B cells become out of control and gather up in the bone marrow and blood, expelling out healthy blood cells. The stages of CLL Leukemia are used to identify how far the cancer has spread. This is the reason that knowing the stages of chronic lymphocytic leukemia is important, because it enables planning that can help determine the best treatment that is applicable to the disease.

The Rai and Binet Systems

CLL has no standard staging system. The Rai System and the Binet System are used to distinguish the progress level of the CLL. The Rai System was originally devised in 1968 and is used often in the United States. Rai divides CLL into 5 stages:

  • Considered low risk – Stage 0
  • Considered intermediate risk – Stages I and II
  • Considered high risk – Stages III and IV

Meanwhile, the Binet System categorizes the stages of leukemia according to the number of affected lymphoid tissue groups. It is used more widely in Europe. Binet divides CLL into 3 stages:

  • When there are fewer than 3 areas of lymphoid tissue enlarged, and no anemia or thrombocytopenia is seen – Binet Stage A
  • When 3 or more areas of lymphoid tissue are seen to be enlarged, and there is no anemia or thrombocytopenia – Binet Stage B
  • When anemia and/or thrombocytopenia are already present – Binet stage C

The Binet System is able to highlight the splenic form of CLL for better prognosis than the Rai System.

The Rai Stage for CLL

Rai Stage 0

CLL can be found only in the blood and bone marrow, with a profusion of lymphocytes. There are no other symptoms of leukemia. Progress is slow.

Rai Stage I

CLL is in the lymph nodes, there are too many lymphocytes in the blood and the lymph nodes are swollen.

Rai Stage II

CLL can be found in the enlarged liver and/or spleen and there too many lymphocytes in the blood. The lymph nodes are also enlarged.

Rai Stage III

CLL causes anemia at this stage. There are few red blood cells and an abundance of lymphocytes in the blood. The lymph nodes, liver, and/or spleen are enlarged.

Rai Stage IV

CLL causes low platelet counts. There are too many lymphocytes in the blood. The lymph nodes, liver, and/or spleen are also enlarged. There are few red blood cells and high white blood count.

The Binet Stage for CLL

Binet Stage A

The patient has fewer than 3 areas of lymphoid tissues that are enlarged. The enlargement of the lymph nodes found in the groin, neck, spleen, and underarms can be considered in one group. No anemia or thrombocytopenia is present.

Binet Stage B

The patient has three or more enlarged lymphoid tissues, and no anemia or thrombocytopenia.

Binet Stage C

The patient has anemia and/or thrombocytopenia.

Both staging system for CLL Leukemia are very helpful and have been used for many years. While knowing the stage does not predict the survival rate, it helps to provide clarity of diagnosis.

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Symptoms of CLL Leukemia

August 5th, 2013

Leukemia is one of the hardest types of cancer to spot because the symptoms tend to appear only when the disease has progressed. In the early stages of leukemia, people rarely notice abnormalities because this cancer affects the blood and it doesn’t physically show. In particular, chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL Leukemia progresses over a long period of time, and people only notice either during the latter stages or when some abnormalities are found in an incidental blood test.

Even so, CLL Leukemia has a couple of symptoms that people can watch out for. While these symptoms aren’t exclusive to the disease, they should still be a cause of concern.

1.     Weakness and Extreme Fatigue

CLL Leukemia is characterized by an abnormal increase in B cells, which are produced in the bone marrow and developed in the lymph nodes. These B cells are necessary to the body because they produce antibodies, thereby fighting infection. However, when these B cells grow out of control, they crowd out the healthy blood cells in the bone marrow and the blood stream. When these leukemia cells begin replacing healthy cells, this results in symptoms also linked to anemia, such as weakness, extreme fatigue and even shortness of breath. If you’re suddenly tired for no particular reason, this could be a cause of concern.

2.     Swollen Lymph Nodes

B cells develop in the lymph nodes, so when they increase abnormally, the lymph nodes are directly affected. This is why a common symptom of CLL Leukemia that people need to watch out for is the occurrence of lumps. If they notice a lump or an unexplained swelling and enlargement in certain areas of the body that contain lymph nodes such as the neck, the groin and even the arm pits, this could be a possible symptom.

3.     Pain and Increased Fullness in the Abdominal Area

Aside from affecting the lymph nodes, CLL also causes the spleen to enlarge. This is why another symptom that’s common for those who have this disease is the feeling of pain and an increased fullness in the abdominal area. If there’s an unexplained enlargement in the belly area, this should be a cause of alarm.

4.     Bleeding

When chronic lymphocytic leukemia is in its advanced stages, this could cause a shortage of blood platelets, which then causes bleeding in various parts of the body. Nosebleeds are a common occurrence, as well as bleeding from the gums and bruising.

5.     Fever and Infection

The shortage of normal white blood cells caused by CLL Leukemia happens in the more advanced stages of the disease, and when it does, this shortage could cause symptoms like fever and infection. The infections could vary, but they could even be recurring and severe. While fever and infection could be a sign of so many other diseases, when these symptoms occur with the other symptoms linked to chronic lymphocytic leukemia, then perhaps you should see your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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What is CLL Leukemia?

August 4th, 2013

CLL or chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and the bone marrow. Leukemia is basically the cancer of the white blood cells or leukocytes, and CLL is the most common type that affects adults. As the term “chronic” suggests, this type of leukemia takes time to develop and progress. Compared to other types, CLL Leukemia takes a longer time to progress, so patients could have the disease without them knowing they have it. This is especially true in the early stages of the disease.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Leukemia refers to cancer of the blood, so it’s not a disease with symptoms that you can easily pinpoint. Usually, CLL Leukemia is discovered by accident, during a routine blood test. When the complete blood count (CBC) comes out and the results show an abnormal increase in white blood cells, then it could indicate a possible cancer. B lymphocytes make antibodies that help fight infection, but if there is an abnormal count of this type of lymphocytes in the blood or bone marrow, then this could be followed by a diagnosis. As the disease progresses, there are certain conditions that begin to manifest as a result.

  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Enlarged spleen

Who Could Get the Disease?

Cancer is something you wouldn’t wish on anyone, since the effects are usually debilitating and life-threatening. People are gravitating towards living healthier lifestyles because of the presence of all these diseases, and when it comes to cancer, it’s best to be well-informed.

Who usually gets CLL Leukemia? Are there risk factors people should be aware of? Can the disease be prevented?

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a disease that adults get. Only very rarely does this type of leukemia affect teenagers and children, and in fact, most people diagnosed with this disease are over the age of 50. There are also certain risk factors for this type of leukemia, which makes some people more at risk for it compared to others.

First, like any other cancer, family history is always a risk factor. This means that if you have a relative or family member that was diagnosed with CLL, your risk to also have the disease increases. Gender also plays a role, because males are more likely to get CLL. For some reason, people with European and North American descent are also more likely to get the disease.

Treatment

Once chronic lymphocytic leukemia is diagnosed, the next step is to proceed with the treatment options. The treatment needed will depend on advanced the disease already is, but in most cases, physicians will opt to fight CLL Leukemia with chemotherapy. While chemotherapy is the most common way to fight it, other treatment options include radiation therapy (can be used for swollen lymph nodes) and biological therapy. Sometimes, it will also be necessary to have a bone marrow transplant.

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