CLL is rarely a fatal disease, but its complications can be life threatening.
With the excellent treatments that we have, few people die of CLL. However, complications related to the effects of CLL and/or its treatment can shorten lives. Infections, especially respiratory infections, are dangerous for CLL patients. Second cancers are common in CLL patients. Autoimmune problems, where the body attacks the red blood cells, known as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) or attacks the platelets, immune thrombocytopenic anemia purpura (ITP), can be life threatening. Medications to treat CLL all have the risk of side effects, including some potential serious ones, such as suppressed blood counts, infections, second cancers, and cardiovascular complications.
Action Item for Complications
Don’t ignore any minor infections. Don’t neglect your non-CLL health issues, such as any cardiovascular or other comorbidities.
Helpful Articles About Complications
Please read these brief, informative articles, get all age- and gender-appropriate cancer screenings, and keep up-to-date with your vaccines.
Autoimmune Problems in CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
CLL: Infections Kill! How To Prevent Them When We are Immunocompromised
ASH 2018: Dr. Wiestner on the Immune System in CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
ASCO 2019: Dr. Koffman’s Pick #8 Second Cancers in Patients Receiving BTK Inhibitors in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
When appropriate, the CLL Society will be posting updates and background information on the present Coronavirus pandemic focusing on reliable primary sources of information and avoiding most of the news that is not directly from reliable medical experts or government and world health agencies.