What Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Is
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL is a type of cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow (a spongy tissue inside the bones where blood cells are made).
“Chronic” comes from the fact that this type of cancer typically progresses more slowly than any other types of leukemia do while “lymphocytic” comes from the cells being affected by this disease which can most commonly affect older adults.
What the Symptoms Are
Many patients with CLL may have no early symptoms. Those who do may experience fatigue, fever, enlarged but painless lymph nodes, night sweats, frequent infections , weight loss and pain in the upper left portion of the abdomen which may be caused by an enlarged spleen.
What Causes CLL?
Even doctors cannot be certain what process usually causes this type of disease to occur except that something happens in order for the cancer cells to mutate genetically in the DNA of these blood-producing cells which may possibly cause the blood cells to produce abnormal and ineffective lymphocytes.
When these abnormal lymphocytes are beyond ineffective, they continue to live and multiply when the normal ones would die, accumulating in the blood and certain organs where they could cause complications. These abnormal lymphocytes would crowd healthy cells out of the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
What Are The Risk Factors?
What could possibly put you at risk for having this illness are your race, exposure to chemicals, age, gender, and most importantly , your family history of blood and bone marrow cancers.
White people are more likely prone to develop CLL than people of other race do, most especially men. People who are 60 years of age are mostly diagnosed with this kind of disease. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is mostly inherited- your family history of blood and bone marrow cancers may increase your risk.
Exposed to chemicals? They can also put you at risk, including certain herbicides and insecticides.
What Are The Complications?
Untreated CLL may possibly cause complications such as immune system problems, frequent infections, switch to a more aggressive form of cancer and lastly, increased risk of other cancers.
Note: I may not have this condition, but I still am curious to the point that I decided to research about CLL and make a write up.