HealthTree Logo
search more_vert
person Sign In / Create Account
Signs that CLL is Progressing
Posted: Jan 13, 2023
Signs that CLL is Progressing image

An initial diagnosis of CLL may be surprising because symptoms may not be present. CLL is often a slow-growing cancer so treatment may be put on hold until it starts to progress. Once it advances to an intermediate or high-risk stage, your doctor will recommend treatment (see here about non-chemo treatment paths CLL patients can expect). Treatment needs to be individualized for patients due to the variations that exist in CLL. Thanks to recent medical advances, non-chemo treatment options like targeted therapies help many CLL patients manage the disease. Talk with a CLL specialist to verify what treatment path is best for you. 

Let Your Doctor Know if You Experience Any of These Symptoms:

  • Weight loss - Unexplained loss of over 10% of body weight over the course of a 6-month period of time may indicate CLL is progressing 
  • Extreme tiredness - Extreme fatigue or shortness of breath while doing normal day-to-day activities should be a sign of concern. Fewer red blood cells and an increase in cancer cells can cause fatigue
  • Fever and night sweats - Any unexplained fever over 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C) should be reported. A high fever may cause severe night sweats
  • Frequent infections - CLL causes a weakened immune system because there aren’t enough white blood cells to fight infections. If you're getting sick often, contact your CLL specialist
  • Abnormal lab tests - Low numbers of red blood cells or platelets are a sign of disease progression. Lymphocytes should also be monitored closely. If they have increased by more than 50 percent in 2 months or doubled in 6 months, it may also signal disease progression
  • Enlarged spleen - The spleen is responsible for filtering blood. When abnormal cells build up in the blood, the spleen becomes enlarged. Patients may feel abdominal discomfort or feel like they have a full stomach
  • Swollen lymph nodes - Lymph nodes are mainly concentrated in the neck, groin, and armpits. Growing numbers of CLL cells in the lymph nodes will cause them to swell. Patients may feel a lump under the skin in those areas

Once you have been diagnosed with CLL, keep all scheduled check-ups and follow-up with your doctor regularly. If any signs of progression occur, contact your CLL specialist immediately.  

The author Lisa Foster

about the author
Lisa Foster

Lisa Foster is a mom of 3 daughters, a puzzle lover, a writer, and a HealthTree advocate. She believes in the mission of the foundation and the team that builds it forward. She calls Houston, Texas home. 

Thanks to our HealthTree Community for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Sponsors:


Follow Us

facebook instagram youtube