Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Risk Factors for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

No one knows the exact causes of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and doctors can seldom explain why one person will get CLL and another person will not. However, leukemia research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop chronic lymphocytic leukemia. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chances of developing a condition.
 
Risk factors for chronic lymphocytic leukemia include:
 
  • Being middle-aged or older, male, or Caucasian
  • A family history of chronic lymphocytic leukemia or cancer of the lymph system
  • Having relatives who are Russian Jews or Eastern European Jews.
 

Symptoms of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells collect, people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia may have a number of symptoms.
 
(Click CLL Symptoms for more information.)
 

Diagnosing Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Tests that examine the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes are used to detect and diagnose chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
 
Tests and procedures that may be used to make a diagnosis include:
 
  • Physical exam (along with a review of the person's medical history)
  • Complete blood count
  • Cytogenetic analysis
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy.
 
Physical Exam and Medical History
A physical exam entails an exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. The healthcare provider will also take and review a history of the person's health habits and past illnesses and treatments.
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CLL

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