Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) - a benign tumor of the lymphoid tissue, which is based on morphologically mature lymphocytes. CLL mature lymphoid cells of the lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissues degenerate into cancer, begin to proliferate, invade the bone marrow and blood. This form of leukemia usually occurs in the elderly, progresses slowly.
- Enlargement of lymph nodes.
- Lack of appetite, weight loss.
- Dyspnoea with physical exertion.
- Feeling of fullness in the stomach.
- Enlargement of the liver and spleen.
- Sometimes pinpoint hemorrhage on the skin and mucous membranes.
- Skin diseases (eg, eczema).
The first symptom of the disease is an increase in lymph nodes. Other symptoms are fatigue, lack of appetite, weight loss, dyspnoea with exertion, an increase in the spleen and liver. In the absence of obvious symptoms, chronic lymphocytic leukemia is often diagnosed accidentally, for example, when performing a blood test for some other reason. With the progression of the disease, pallor and pinpoint hemorrhages on the skin and mucous membranes appear. In rare cases, with malignant degeneration of lymphocytes, they penetrate into the skin tissue.
Symptoms of the disease are not always pronounced. However, if the above symptoms have arisen and do not go away for a long time, you need to see a doctor.
The causes of the disease are not clear. It is assumed that the emergence of CLL is influenced by heredity. Leukemia is affected by malignant degeneration of cells that penetrate the bone marrow and blood.
There are three main ways to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The first - the appointment of cytostatics - drugs that inhibit the growth of tumor cells. However, they affect the healthy cells of the human body, so they are used in exceptional cases. The second is treatment with corticosteroids. There is a rapid but short-term improvement in the patient's condition. When treating corticosteroids, there are various problems: long-term use of drugs causes complications associated with metabolic disorders, often there are various infections. The third method of treatment is irradiation of enlarged lymph nodes, liver and spleen. Unfortunately, all three possible methods of treatment do not guarantee complete recovery of the patient with leukemia. However, when they are used, it is possible to stop the progression of the disease for a relatively long time. In addition, antibiotics are additionally used to treat various infections. When the immune system deteriorates, the spleen is sometimes removed, hormones, blood transfusions are prescribed.
With chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a person can not help himself, it is necessary to consult an oncologist as soon as possible. The doctor will examine the lymph nodes, liver and spleen, blood tests, refer the patient to the hematology department, where bone marrow examination will be held. After the final diagnosis is made, treatment options can be considered.
Course of the disease
The course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia can be different, but usually the disease progresses slowly. More and more tumor cells enter the blood and bone marrow, where they disrupt the formation of new blood cells. The patient begins anemia, the tumor cells push certain definite elements of the blood. Later disrupted the function of the immune system, increasing susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, as a result of which the cells, a protective function, begin to attack the healthy cells of the organism. The spleen and liver are enlarged.
If one of the family members was ill with lymphocytic leukemia, it is recommended to undergo regular checkups and do a blood test. The earlier the diagnosis is made, the greater the probability of successful treatment.