How chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is diagnosed
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is often diagnosed following a routine blood test and you may have had no symptoms whatsoever.
If you have symptoms and CLL is suspected, your GP will examine you and take a blood test. If the test shows abnormal levels of blood cells, or if your GP can feel swollen lymph nodes, you’ll be referred to a hospital specialist called a haematologist for advice and treatment.
The haematologist will ask you about any illnesses or health problems you’ve had. They’ll examine you to check if your lymph nodes, spleen or liver are enlarged. You’ll also have more blood samples taken for testing.
If you have enlarged lymph nodes but the blood test does not show an increased number of lymphocytes, the disease is called small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). CLL and SLL are now considered to be the same disease and you may hear it described as CLL/SLL.