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Cancer Health Center

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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Option Overview

There are different types of treatment for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Different types of treatment are available for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Recommended Related to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

General Information About Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Incidence and Mortality Estimated new cases and deaths from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the United States in 2014:[1] New cases: 18,860. Deaths: 10,460. Prognosis and Survival Advances in the treatment of AML (also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia [ANLL]) have resulted in substantially improved complete remission (CR) rates.[1] Treatment should be sufficiently aggressive to achieve CR because partial remission offers no substantial survival...

Read the General Information About Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia article > >

Five types of standard treatment are used:

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is closely monitoring a patient's condition without giving any treatment until signs or symptoms appear or change. This is also called observation. During this time, problems caused by the disease, such as infection, are treated.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.


Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, or the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

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