Signs and symptoms of CLL

CLL develops slowly and many people have no symptoms in the early stages. It’s often discovered by chance when a blood test is taken for another reason. For example, before an operation, or as part of a routine health check.

The symptoms of CLL can include the following:

  • Feeling tired (fatigued) or unwell.
  • Having frequent infections. This is caused by a lack of healthy white blood cells. Infections may be more severe and take longer to clear.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin. This is caused by a build-up of CLL cells. It’s usually painless.
  • Breathlessness, tiredness and headaches. This is caused by a lack of red blood cells, called anaemia.
  • Bruising and bleeding easily. This may happen if there aren’t enough platelets in the blood. You may have nosebleeds that take a long time to stop (more than 10 minutes). You may get large bruises in unexpected places.
  • A tender lump in the upper left-hand side of the abdomen. This is caused by an enlarged spleen.
  • Severe sweating at night.
  • Weight loss.

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