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What is lymphocytic leukemia?

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Quick Answer

Lymphocytic leukemia, also called chronic lymphocytic leukemia, is a type of cancer that affects a person's blood and bone marrow, explains Mayo Clinic. Doctors use the term "lymphocytic" used for this type of cancer because it affects the lymphocytes, or white blood cells.

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Full Answer

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, typically develops at a slower rate than most other types of leukemia and affects blood cell production, states Mayo Clinic; however, there are two types of CLL, one of which grows at a much faster rate, according to American Cancer Society. Lymphocytes are important cells, as they help the human body fight against infections, explains Mayo Clinic. Treatment can help control CLL, which most often occurs in older adults. It is very common for people with CLL to develop no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

Some signs of chronic lymphocytic leukemia include large or swollen lymph nodes, although this does not cause pain, according to Mayo Clinic. A person may also experience fatigue or fever, along with infections that occur frequently. Weight loss, night sweats and pain in the upper left side of the abdomen can also occur. An enlarged spleen may be responsible for the pain in the abdomen.

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