Finding follow-up care and emotional support.
People can live with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) for years without treatment, but most patients will eventually require a therapy plan. It’s important to go to follow-up appointments before, during and after treatment and talk with a doctor about any changes or problems. The care team will explain the overall treatment plan and how often physical exams, blood tests, and cancer screenings are needed. At each follow-up visit:
It is normal to feel depressed, anxious or worried when you are dealing with cancer. Seek out support from friends, family, a religious community, patient groups and counselors. Below are examples of support programs available to people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Refractory or Relapsed CLL
Some patients still have leukemia cells in their bone marrow after treatment, and this is called refractory leukemia. These patients may remain stable or worsen within six months after the last treatment, but the cancer often goes into remission after more treatment.
Other patients may respond to therapy initially, but then stop responding after six months. This is called a relapse. In this case, there is a return of CLL cells in the marrow and a decrease in normal blood cells after remission. With further treatment, these patients usually have years of remission.
Some of the treatments for patients with refractory or relapsed CLL include: Imbruvica (ibrutinib), Zydelig (idelalisib) and Arzerra (ofatumumab).