Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL)
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) are cancers that affect the same lymphocytes. CLL and SLL are often thought of as the same disease, with the only difference being where the cancer primarily occurs. When most of the cancer cells are located in the bloodstream and the bone marrow, the disease is referred to as CLL. When the cancer cells are located mostly in the lymph nodes, the disease is called SLL.
Many patients with CLL/SLL do not have any obvious symptoms of the disease at the onset or for many years and it may ultimately be detected through routine blood tests and/or a physical exam. For others, the disease can be detected when symptoms occur including a tender, swollen abdomen and feeling full even after eating only a small amount. Other symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, anemia, bruising easily, night sweats, weight loss and frequent infections. CLL/SLL may cause different symptoms depending on the location of the tumor in the body.