Most patients are diagnosed in the earlier stages of the disease and more than half of them will live a 12 years or longer with the disease. Often no treatment is needed at first. Treatment can be started if special genetic testing
of the cancer cells shows a high-risk type or if the patient is very symptomatic. Treatment can include oral or IV chemotherapy
or IV infusion of a special antibodies (rituxan
) or Campath
). Unfortunately, these treatments are not curative, but they can keep the disease in check for many years. The only known cure for cll is a bone marrow
or stem cell transplant
. A transplant is a difficult treatment to go through with a high risk for complications, so they are usually reserved for young patients, with high-risk disease.