Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, otherwise known as CLL or cancer of the blood cells, is the most common type of adult leukemia. CLL accounts for nearly one-third of all leukemia cases. The average age of diagnosis is 72.
The May 2009 issue of NARFE magazine has a terrific article on CLL by Dr. Marilyn S. Radke. She says:
"Leukemia starts in the bone marrow -- the soft material in the center of bones where blood cells are formed (white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets). CLL starts in lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, in the bone marrow. CLL invades the blood and can spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and other parts of the body.
"One type of CLL grows slowly, rarely needs treatment and has an average survival of 15 years.
"Another type of CLL grows faster and has an average survival of eight years.
" Risk factors for CLL include: - Certain chemical exposures; - Family history (parent, sibling or child had CLL); - Male gender; - North American and European race/ethnicity.
"Smoking, diet, radiation and infections are not proven risk factors for CLL, and there are no known risk factors for CLL that a person can change to prevent this cancer.
" Symptoms of CLL can include the following: - Weakness; - Fatigue; - Weight loss; - Fever; - Night sweats; - Swollen lymph nodes (felt as lumps under the skin); - Pain or 'fullness' ion the belly after eating (due to an enlarged spleen)."