Sunday, August 10, 2008

What is chronic lymphocytic leukemia?

chronic_lymphocytic_leukemia When people hear that I have cancer, I typically get one of two responses: 1) shock and an assumption that I must be virtually an invalid, living in pain (and staying home in bed), and 2) a testimony of some herbal remedy or treatment that really worked in someone they knew who had a different kind of cancer. I have yet to hear of one that worked on CLL.

While CLL is a rather common kind of cancer, most people know virtually nothing about it.  Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is a condition characterized by an accumulation of abnormal lymphocytes in the blood and the bone marrow.  These lymphocytes do not perform their functions as normal ones would and interfere with the production of other blood cells necessary for the normal functioning of the blood.  This leads to complications like deficiency of the immune system, coagulation problems, swollen lymph nodes, and a number of other conditions.  There is no known cure for CLL.  It mostly occurs in people over 50 years old (I was diagnosed at 40; I am 46 now).

May I add that while it is not the most virulent form of cancer out there, CLL is not a "good" kind of cancer to have, as some well-meaning people have sometimes put it.  Perhaps they would like to take it out for a spin?  Bruises, foot and leg cramps, bleeding, anemia, night sweats, lethargy, tiredness, swelling of the neck, concerns over nodes in the abdomen interfering with vital organs....

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