Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

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Symptoms and Risk Factors

Symptoms

In the early stages of the disease, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) doesn’t usually cause any noticeable symptoms. CLL is often discovered during a routine blood test. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms increase. Contact your doctor if you experience symptoms such as the following:

  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Easy bruising
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin
  • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs (may indicate an enlarged spleen or liver)
  • Night sweats (sweating to the point of being soaking wet)

Risk Factors

Anything about you that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor, but having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will certainly get the disease. Nor does not having a risk factor mean you can’t get the disease. Risk factors are merely indicators. The following are risk factors for CLL:

  • Male gender
  • White race
  • Middle-aged or older (rarely seen under age 40; average age at diagnosis is 72)
  • Having a family history of CLL or a cancer of the lymph system (such as lymphoma)