What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia?Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common type of leukocyte cancer in adults. It occurs as a result of the uncontrolled division of lymphocytic cells in the bone marrow and then spreads into the blood and other organs of the body such as the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. Usually, chronic lymphocytic leukemia develops slowly and gradually, which is why it is called chronic.
What is Leukemia?Leukemia is a cancer of body tissues that forms blood; these consist of bone marrow and the lymphatic system. There are three types of blood cells; these are white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. The term Leukemia is typically used for cancer (uncontrolled division or excess production of cells) of white blood cells. Leukemia usually starts in the lungs, breast, colon and then spread to the bone marrow.
What are Lymphocytes?Lymphocytes belonged to the white blood cell group. T cells (T lymphocytes), B cells (B lymphocytes), and natural killer cells are lymphocytes. They are part of the human defense system and fight various disease-causing agents and foreign bodies that cause infection.
Disease Etiology (Causes)There is no well-known cause; however, certain genetic mutations, exposure to certain radiation or harmful chemicals, and a family history of certain cancer are risk factors that are believed to be responsible for the development of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Disease EpidemiologyChronic lymphocytic leukemia is usually a disease of older people that usually occurs in people over 70 years of age. It is slightly more common in men than women. It accounts for about a quarter of all new cases of leukemia.
Signs and symptomsMost patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia have no signs or symptoms. In symptomatic cases, the patient may develop the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Enlarged or swollen painless slowly growing lymph nodes in the neck armpit, abdomen, and groin
- Shortness of breath where the tumor is spread to the lungs
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic techniques and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Imaging studies such as X-ray, CT-scan, and MRI to detect the site, size, and extent of the metastasis (spread of the tumor)
- CT chest, the scan of bones, and PET-Scan to assess the areas and spread of the tumor
- Lymph node biopsy / Tumor biopsy
- Bone marrow biopsy