Living with leukemia: Tips for patients, caregivers on managing the disease

(BPT) – Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, is the most common type of adult leukemia in the US. The average age at diagnosis is 72 years old and this disease affects 16,000 people each year, 4,600 of whom will unfortunately die. This is often a slow-growing blood cancer and a complicated disease, and many patients and families may find themselves overwhelmed with the diagnosis and not sure where to begin.

“CLL is a challenging form of cancer, often requiring patients to receive multiple treatments over the course of their disease. Diagnosis and treatment can be overwhelming for patients and caregivers who are often unaware of available resources and treatment options available to them, and unsure of where to turn for support and advice,” says Stephanie A. Gregory, M.D., Elodia Kehm Chair of Hematology and emeritus and professor of Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. “This is an important time in CLL treatment as there are a number of novel, oral medicines available now, that weren’t around even just a few years ago. These new agents are directed at the cancer cells and offer our patient options in managing their disease.”

Fortunately, resources are available to patients, their caregivers, families and health care professionals to help to manage CLL and its far-reaching implications on a patient’s life. Important tools and communities can offer support in a variety of ways including understanding the diagnosis, communicating with one’s health care team, discovering new treatment options, learning about insurance and financial assistance and coping with the disease.

It’s important to talk with one’s health care team to understand and decide what’s best for you. Visit to access free resources, information and support tools for people living with CLL and those who love them to help manage the many facets of the disease.

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