Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a type of cancer that occurs when bone marrow produces too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). With CLL, the lymphocytes are not able to fight infection very well; as the amount of lymphocytes increases in the blood and bone marrow, there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. As a result, a person with this condition could develop infection, anemia, easy bleeding, and other problems.
This type of leukemia rarely affects children. In fact, CLL most often develops after middle age. Some of the other risk factors for this condition include:
- Being male or Caucasian
- Having a family history of chronic lymphocytic leukemia or cancer of the lymph system
- Having relatives who are Russian Jews or Eastern European Jews.
Treatment options for CLL can include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
(To learn more about this condition, click Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. This article takes an in-depth look at how a diagnosis is made, factors that will affect your prognosis, and more.)