We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a white blood cell cancer that primarily affects adults over the age of 50. In general, it is a slowly progressing disease that can eventually become fatal if it is not recognized and treated. There are many different types of chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment available, and specialists make treatment decisions based on the stage of cancer progression and the age and health of the patient. Most people eventually need to receive a combination of chemotherapy drugs, cancer-targeting medications, and antibiotics. If cancer persists and spreads to other parts of the body, aggressive radiation treatments, surgery, and blood transfusions may be necessary as well.

In the early stages of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, symptoms may not be present at all. A doctor might simply detect the cancer after a routine blood test. When patients are asymptomatic, professionals often discourage chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment. Instead, patients are instructed to schedule regular checkups so their doctors can monitor changes in their conditions. Since the cancer may go into remission on its own or never cause serious health problems, most experts believe it is better to avoid treatment rather than subject patients to the side effects of cancer drugs.

Patients who begin to experience symptoms of fever, fatigue, and lymph node enlargement are candidates for chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment. Chemotherapy is the most common initial chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment, and it is highly effective at suppressing this type of cancer in most patients. Depending on a patient's health and the stage of the cancer, he or she may need to take oral chemotherapy drugs or receive intravenous solutions. Fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and other common chemotherapy drugs are often given in combination to combat cancer in the lymph nodes and bone marrow.

Specialized medications called monoclonal antibodies are often administered with chemotherapy drugs to trigger cancer cell death. Antibodies such as alemtuzumab and rituximab seek out cancer cells in the blood, attach to surface proteins, and chemically signal them to die. Monoclonal antibodies and chemotherapy drugs are generally very effective at killing cancer cells, but they can also damage healthy white blood cells. Patients need to take antibiotics and immune system-boosting medications as well to reduce the risk of infections and lessen side effects.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia that persists or spreads despite medical care requires additional treatment. Blood and bone marrow transfusions may be performed to replace cancerous white blood cells and damaged bone marrow stem cells. Radiation therapy may be required if tumors develop in lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. It is difficult for doctors to predict the outcome of chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment once the cancer is in its late stages, but aggressive, ongoing therapy provides the best chances for survival.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.