Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common form of adult leukemia and accounts for one-third of all leukemias in the United States. In 2009, more than 15,000 new chronic lymphocytic leukemia cases were expected to be diagnosed and nearly 4,500 people were expected to die from the disease.1 It's estimated that nearly 90,000 people live with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.2 There is currently no cure.3
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a slow-growing form of cancer that occurs when abnormal or malignant white blood cells (lymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. These abnormal cells outnumber the normal white blood cells, making it difficult for the body to fight infection.2,4 While the cause is unknown, chronic lymphocytic leukemia occurs in B-cells, a type of white blood cell.3
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2009. http://www.cancer.org/Research/CancerFactsFigures/CancerFactsFigures/cancer-facts-figures-2009. Accessed October 12, 2009.
2 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=7059. Accessed October 12, 2009.
4 Lymphoma Information Network. B-cell Lymphomas. http://www.lymphomainfo.net/nhl/b-cell.html. Accessed October 12, 2009.
5 National Cancer Institute. SEER Stat Fact Sheet: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/clyl.html. Accessed October 12, 2009.
7 American Cancer Society. Glossary. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerGlossary/index. Accessed October 12, 2009.