When and How CLL, SLL Should Be Treated

This article was originally published on Cure

Treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL) have drastically improved in recent years, although patients may not need immediate treatment directly after being diagnosed.

Then, once it is decided that a patient will undergo treatment, deciding on the timing and regimen is pivotal.

When to Treat CLL/SLL

To determine if treatment is needed, patients should talk with their providers about symptoms they are experiencing, swollen lymph nodes, and blood cell counts, according to Dr. Locke J. Bryan, associate professor of medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and the hematology/oncology fellowship program director at the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University.

Bryan discussed CLL and SLL at the CURE® Educated Patient Leukemia & Lymphoma Summit.

One symptom of CLL and SLL is swollen lymph nodes; the location of the swelling could play a role in whether or not the disease is treated.

“It’s about location … a big node may not be causing any problems, but a smaller node pushing on an organ may cause some problems. Then, yes, the patient may need some treatment,” Bryan said. “And then as those (white blood cell) counts start to drop, that may be another reason.”

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