Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic

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Treating Leukemia - Chronic Lymphocytic (CLL) TOPICS

How is chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

This section starts with general comments about types of treatments used for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This is followed by a discussion of treatment options for CLL based on risk groups.

Making treatment decisions

After the leukemia is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. Because chronic lymphocytic leukemia often grows slowly, not everyone needs to be treated right away. When treatment is needed, the main treatments used are:

Less often, leukapheresis, surgery, or radiation therapy may also be used.

It is important to take time and think about your possible choices. In choosing a treatment plan, the stage of the leukemia and other prognostic factors (see the section called "How is chronic lymphocytic leukemia staged?") are important. Other factors to consider include whether or not you are having symptoms, your age and overall health, and the likely benefits and side effects of treatment.

In considering your treatment options it is often a good idea to seek a second opinion, if possible. This could give you more information and help you feel more confident about the treatment plan you have chosen.


Last Medical Review: 07/31/2013
Last Revised: 04/18/2014