Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia overview

You are at the center of everything we do at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Here, we surround you with a team of specialists who work together closely to provide expert, targeted care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with a commitment to meet your unique needs.

Why choose SCCA?

  • Comprehensive CLL treatment 
    Our doctors are experts in the complex factors that go into planning your individualized CLL treatment. Based on the specific features of your disease, your team may recommend one or more targeted therapies or immunotherapies — or in some cases chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant — all available at SCCA.
  • CLL clinical studies
    To give you access to the most innovative therapies, SCCA unites the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in CLL clinical studies not available everywhere.
  • Pioneering new approaches
    In recent years, CLL treatment has changed significantly, with the approval of several targeted drugs and antibody therapies that have largely replaced conventional chemo. Researchers here helped pioneered novel options, and we continue to refine treatment combinations and sequences to get the best results for each patient. 
  • A national leader in cancer treatment
    SCCA is the leading cancer treatment center in the region and among the top nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • NCI comprehensive cancer center
    We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Antibody A protein made by immune system cells and released into the blood. Antibodies defend the body against foreign substances, such as bacteria. Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Targeted therapy A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells while causing less harm to normal cells. A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells while causing less harm to normal cells. Some targeted therapies block the action of certain enzymes, proteins or other molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Other types of targeted therapies help the immune system kill cancer cells, or they deliver toxic substances directly to cancer cells and kill them. Targeted therapy may have fewer side effects than other types of cancer treatment. Most targeted therapies are either small molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies.

Facts

CLL is one type of cancer of the bone marrow and blood. It is also called chronic lymphoid leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma. SCCA offers comprehensive treatment from a team of experts for all types of leukemia and lymphoid malignancies, including CLL.

Treatment

Treatment has changed significantly for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) since around 2014. Now, most people do very well with newer targeted drugs and immunotherapies — though, for certain patients, conventional chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant remain important options.

Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies.

Providers

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

Clinical trials

To give you access to the most innovative therapies, SCCA unites the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in CLL clinical studies not available everywhere.

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease.

Resources

There are many resources online for learning about your disease. Health educators at the SCCA Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.