Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Text Size A A

E-Mail to a Friend

secret  Click to Play Audio

Symptoms and Risk Factors


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)