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Being told you have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your leukemia and about the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Your healthcare team may include:
Hematologist/oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer of the blood, including leukemia.
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
You may have other types of doctors, nurses, or healthcare providers on your team as well. They will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your leukemia. This may include getting some tests and working with more than one healthcare provider.
The decision to treat CLL is complex. For this reason, it's best to find a doctor who is experienced in caring for people with this disease. Many people with CLL may not need any treatment for months or years after they are diagnosed. If you do need treatment, you will have time to have any other tests as needed. You will have time to talk with your doctor about treatment choices, get a second opinion if you want, decide on a treatment, and prepare yourself and your loved ones.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also visit support groups to talk with other people coping with your type of leukemia. Ask your healthcare team about local support groups.
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