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Oncology social workers help you cope with the emotional and practical challenges of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Contact us at 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) or
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Learn more about how CancerCare Resource Navigation can help you address barriers to care.

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Financial Assistance

Find resources and support to manage your financial concerns. Limited assistance from CancerCare® is available to eligible families for cancer-related costs.

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Support Groups

Connect with others in our free support groups led by oncology social workers.


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Community Programs

Learn about and view the full calendar of our free community programs.

Specialized programs

Specialized Programs

CancerCare offers specialized programs to address specific populations and concerns.


Coping Circle Workshops

Virtual educational and supportive workshops led by oncology social workers and qualified co-facilitators. These workshops cover numerous topics and are offered in English and Spanish.

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Connect workshop

Connect Education Workshops

Listen in by telephone or online as leading experts in oncology provide up-to-date information about cancer-related issues in one-hour workshops. Podcasts are also available.

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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
General Topics
Ask CancerCare

Ask CancerCare

Every month, featured experts answer your questions about coping with cancer. View all questions and answers.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Q.

    I was diagnosed with CLL in 2003 and have no symptoms. My white cell count is about 120 and my platelets are at 290. My oncologist wants me to take Rituxan to get the counts down. I do not have an enlarged spleen and have not gotten sick. I have been told by my primary doctor that you should treat the symptoms not the counts. How do I get my oncologist to understand this?


    CLL or, chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common adult leukemia. The average age of diagnosis is 65 to 67 years of age, although it is diagnosed in younger adults as well. It is one of four main types of leukemias. Because it is a chronic disease people can go years without treatment, so it is important to monitor the disease for any changes.

    It appears you are struggling with different medical opinions. Your doctor suggests focusing on symptoms while your oncologist believes that the elevated counts indicate it is time for treatment. This is a common struggle for patients – what to do when you receive differing medical opinions? There is often uncertainty in which is the best option, and ultimately the decision rests with the patient.

    Doctors can suggest, strongly sometimes, treatment options that patients do not feel comfortable with. When that happens it is helpful to open up a dialogue with your doctor where you can explore the rationale behind his/her thinking and you can express your concerns. An open and honest relationship with your health care team (often referred to as a partnership) is important. For many patients this additional knowledge helps them make an informed decision. For oncologists and other members of the health care team, it lets them know about what is important to the patient and how they want to approach his/her disease.

    Here are a few additional resources addressing CLL treatment and patient/doctor communication:


Stories of Help and Hope

Read inspiring personal accounts from people affected by cancer and the ways they've found to cope.

  • Sigrun K., Diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Ekata D., Diagnosed with leukemia

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