Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

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In its early phases, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma doesn't usually reveal itself with obvious signs. Most people who are diagnosed with CLL/SLL have no symptoms; the disease is found incidentally during a routine blood test.

Symptoms develop when the accumulation of abnormal cells interferes with normal functions of other cells in the body. For many people with CLL/SLL, it may take years for enough abnormal cells to accumulate to cause symptoms. In others, the symptoms may develop over a period of weeks.

The symptoms of CLL/SLL tend to be general in nature and are often attributed to stress or an infection. These include:

• Frequent infections or fevers

• Enlarged lymph nodes

• Lethargy and fatigue

• Early feeling of fullness when eating because of spleen enlargement

• Feeling of heaviness in the stomach because of an enlarged spleen

• Loss of appetite or weight

• Night sweats

Last reviewed on 07/01/2008

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