Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic Overview

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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.

Making treatment choices

After leukemia is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. The main treatment is usually chemotherapy ("chemo"), but because chronic lymphocytic leukemia often grows slowly, not everyone needs to be treated right away.

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

In thinking about your treatment options it is often a good idea to get a second opinion, if possible. This may give you more information and help you feel more certain about the treatment plan you have chosen.

Last Medical Review: 08/05/2013
Last Revised: 11/04/2014