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What are the Signs and Symptoms of CLL?

A symptom is a manifestation of the illness that the patient experiences and the doctor does not see. A sign is a manifestation of the illness that the doctor is able to see. 

Some CLL patients may not have the below signs and symptoms, and be surprised they have CLL when diagnosed based on bloodwork. Other patients, however, may experience some of the below signs and symptoms common in CLL. Reach out to a CLL specialist if you experience any of the following: 

  • Frequent infections
  • Swollen lumps on sides of neck, underarms, or groin area (swollen lymph nodes)
  • Persistent tiredness, shortness of breath, and pale skin (anaemia) 
  • Easy bleeding and bruising
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Enlarged spleen and/or liver

The reason CLL patients may experience the above signs and symptoms is because CLL cells are mutated B-cells. B-cells are created in the bone marrow (which are then released into the bloodstream) and the lymph system (see here for more information about What is a B-cell?). When CLL cells multiply in those areas, they can build up in the lymph system nodes and organs making them swell. CLL cells may crowd out other needed blood cells like white blood cells (protect body against infections), red blood cells (carry oxygen to parts of the body which if low patient can experience symptoms of anaemia), and platelets (fix wounds, if low patient can bruise and bleed easily). 

If you experience any of the above signs or symptoms, reach out to your CLL specialist immediately to determine the best treatment path. Need help finding a CLL specialist? Visit HealthTree's CLL Specialist Directory

Drs. Lydia Scarfò, Alvaro Alencar, and Alex Mejia Garcia helped answer questions about what are CLL signs and symptoms.

Watch the full video below: 

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