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Treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)

You may not need treatment straight away if you have early stage CLL and you don't have symptoms. If you need treatment, you might have chemotherapy or a targeted cancer drug, or a combination of both.

Treatment options for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)

The main treatments for CLL are targeted cancer drugs or chemotherapy. You might have a combination of these treatments. 


When, where and how you have chemotherapy for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and the possible side effects.

Targeted cancer drugs

Targeted cancer drugs work by ‘targeting’ those differences that help a cancer cell to survive and grow. 

Stem cell transplant for CLL

A  stem cell transplant isn't a common treatment for CLL. You usually have stem cells from another person (a donor).

Radiotherapy for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)

Radiotherapy uses high energy waves similar to x-rays to kill cancer cells. You don’t often have it for CLL.

Surgery to remove your spleen

Rarely, your doctor might suggest an operation to remove your spleen if you have chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Follow up for CLL

You have regular follow up appointments to check how you are and to see whether you have any problems or worries. 

Last reviewed: 
24 Sep 2020
Next review due: 
24 Sep 2023
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