Othman Al-Sawaf, MD, from the University of Cologne, gives an overview of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

CLL is a rare blood cancer resulting in a build-up of lymphocytes in bone marrow, lymph nodes, and blood. The disease is considered treatable, but relapse is very common. Furthermore, many CLL patients cannot withstand the intensive chemotherapy needed to bring them into complete remission.

As Dr. Al-Sawaf explains, many patients with CLL will be diagnosed by accident through routine blood work and remain asymptomatic early in the cancer’s progression. Treatment initiation usually occurs once a patient displays unspecific symptoms such as recurrent infections, night sweats, fatigue, and fevers. Furthermore, the steady increase of lymphocytes characteristic of this cancer may not be as much cause for worry as other signs, such as anemia and low platelet counts. 

For more information about CLL and other rare cancers, visit checkrare.com/diseases/cancers/