SLL and CLL develop when B-cells become abnormal (cancerous). B-cells are white blood cells that normally help fight infection. They are sometimes called B-lymphocytes. Although they have different names, they develop from the same type of B-cell.
Previously, when the abnormal B-cells were mostly in the lymph nodes and spleen, the type of blood cancer was called SLL. When the abnormal B-cells were mostly in the blood and bone marrow, it was called CLL. Most people have abnormal cells in the lymph nodes, spleen, blood and bone marrow. This is why SLL and CLL now considered to be the same condition.
It is more common as people get older. It usually develops slowly. You may not need treatment straightaway.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with illness and the different emotions they experience. You may find it helpful to talk things over with family and friends or your doctor or nurse.
Macmillan is also here to support you. If you would like to talk, you can:
Below is a sample of the sources used in our small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Blood and bone marrow cancers. NICE Pathways. Last accessed 3 December 2020.
Eichhorst B, Robak T, et al on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Committee. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2020. Volume 32 (issue 1), P23-33. Available from: Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up - Annals of Oncology
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Anne Parker, Consultant Haematologist.
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