DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Are there any new treatment options for chronic lymphocytic leukemia? I am 61 and was diagnosed 18 months ago. Until recently, I have not had any symptoms so have not received treatment for it.
ANSWER: Researchers are currently studying a variety of potential new treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL. Many of them are available now through clinical trials. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial and receive one of the new therapies.
CLL is a cancer of the blood and the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made, called bone marrow. In particular, this disease affects a group of white blood cells called lymphocytes that help your body fight infection.
CLL usually progresses slowly. As in your situation, many people in the early stages of CLL do not have any symptoms. When symptoms start to develop, they may include enlarged lymph nodes, pain in the upper left abdomen, fatigue, fever, night sweats, weight loss and frequent infections.