Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can progress in two different ways. Watch to learn about the prognosis, monitoring, and treatment for each CLL type.
What is Watch and Wait in CLL?
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients generally have a better outlook compared to other cancer types – with a higher 5-year survival rate of about 83 percent. There are two types of CLL – one being a slower-growing type and the other a faster-growing type.
The slower-growing type features higher lymphocytes with slightly low platelets, neutrophils, and red cells. While the faster-growing type produces too many CLL cells in the blood that prevent proper function of red cells and platelets. With the two different types of CLL, patients may have very different patient journeys depending on their disease
While some CLL patients experience very gradual disease progression and are actively monitored during a watch-and-wait phase, other patients may experience a more expedited CLL progression and will need more frequent treatment.
Dr. Kerry Rogers:
“So, for many people, CLL is a very manageable disease. Like I said, some people have had CLL longer than I’ve been a doctor and have needed no treatment for it. However, there are people with CLL that go on to have a lot of difficulty from it, including not doing well with more than therapy or needing really new, advanced therapies, like something called CAR T-cell therapy.
So, for any individual person, you can never say how it’s going to turn out for them, but we do use our experience taking care of lots of people with CLL to make an educated guess as to if this person’s going to be someone that’s going to expect to need a lot of treatment in their lifetime, or maybe no treatment in their lifetime.”
CLL research continues to advance, and clinical trials bring more refined treatments for patients to improve both CLL symptoms and treatment side effects over time. Ask your CLL specialist if you have questions about research advances and check reliable sources like the Patient Empowerment Network, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual conferences.