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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, which is also called chronic lymphoid leukaemia or CLL, is a type of leukaemia. CLL is a form of cancer that occurs in the lymphocytes (the white blood cells), which normally function as a means to fight infections. A certain type of cell mutates and starts multiplying without control, taking over and destroying healthy blood cells, also stopping them from fighting infections.

CLL usually occurs in adults, mostly men. Most patients diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia are older than 50. This form of cancer is not very rare, but new medical achievements enable the patients to survive longer with CLL.

CLL is frequently diagnosed as a part of a blood test that is carried out for other reasons and reveals an unusually high level of white blood cells. In further stages of CLL, anaemia, infections, swollen lymph glands as well as spleen and liver, may occur.

Unlike many other forms of cancer, there are very little lifestyle factors that could prevent CLL. Genetic conditions, family history of CLL and exposure to certain chemicals are thought to increase the risk for developing CLL. Moreover, it is more frequent in Europe and North America than in Asia.

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