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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (0)

B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), also known as chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL), is the most common type of leukemia. Leukemias are abnormal and malignant neoplastic proliferations ("cancers") of the white blood cells (leukocytes). CLL involves a particular subtype of white blood cells, which is a lymphocyte called a B cell. B cells originate in the bone marrow, develop in the lymph nodes, and normally fight infection. In CLL, the DNA of a B cell is damaged, so that it can't fight infection by producing antibodies. Additionally, they grow out of control and accumulate in the bone marrow and blood, where they crowd out healthy blood cells.
Most people are diagnosed without symptoms as the result of a routine blood test that returns a high white blood cell count, but as it advances CLL results in swollen lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, and eventually anemia and infections. Early CLL is not treated, and late CLL is treated with chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies. Survival varies from 5 years to more than 25 years. It is now possible to predict survival length more precisely by examining the DNA mutations; patients with slowly-progressing disease can be reassured and may not need any treatment in their lifetimes.