Q:

Can you survive CLL, and what is the typical prognosis?

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Quick Answer

The prognosis for an individual with chronic lymphocytic leukemia is good, depending on the stage of the disease, with most patients surviving more than 12 years, according to MedlinePlus. Symptoms of CLL develop slowly; however, it can eventually cause the bone marrow to lose its function.

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Full Answer

Leukemia accounts for approximately 2 percent of all cancers. It is more common in adults and males. In children, the chronic form of leukemia is rare. The disease is more common in whites than in people of other races, according to Drugs.com.

When chronic leukemia is in the early stages, the patient normally does not receive treatment, although, as of 2015, clinical studies are underway to discover if early treatment improves the prognosis of the disease. Past studies show early treatment does not improve the lifespan of the patient, according to Mayo Clinic. Most medical practitioners prefer to take a watchful waiting approach rather than to put the patient through treatments that do not help.

When doctors discover the disease in a patient, they often provide cancer screenings to determine the patient's chances of developing another form of cancer, immunizations to prevent infections and monitoring the health to ensure the body remains strong. Because having CLL increases the patient's risk for other forms of cancer, patients benefit from lifestyle changes that reduce these risks, according to Mayo Clinic.

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