What are the goals
of treatment?

There is no cure for CLL. As a result, the goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, stop the cancer from getting worse, or achieve remission.

Treatment goals and options depend on how much your symptoms are affecting you:

  • When you don’t have symptoms, close monitoring is usually preferred over treatment. This is often referred to as "watch and wait"
  • When symptoms appear or worsen, treatment aims to stop the CLL from progressing

If your doctor says you need treatment, there are many options to help manage your CLL. CLL can be treated in a number of ways, including antibody therapy and/or chemotherapy. Often, doctors will combine the two types of treatment for better results.

Once you begin treatment, your doctor will need to regularly check your:

  • Symptoms
  • Size of lymph nodes, liver, or spleen
  • Blood count measures

Antibody therapy and chemotherapy

Antibody therapy Chemotherapy
Antibody therapy is used to find and destroy specific cells within the body. It can use your body's immune system to help fight cancer. It is often an important part of chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment plans and can be given along with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that destroys growing cells, including cancer cells. It is also an important part of chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment plans. It can be given as a single drug or a combination of drugs including antibody therapy.
How it works
Antibody therapy targets a protein found on the surface of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells and some healthy blood cells. It is thought to use your body’s immune system to find and kill leukemia and healthy cells.
How it works
Chemotherapy attacks growing cancer cells in the body. It also attacks growing healthy cells in the body, such as those for hair and the intestinal lining.