NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

8 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, 2018 Illustration Copyright © 2016 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved. 1 Chronic lymphocytic leukemia Lymphocytes You’ve learned that you have or may have chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It’s common to feel shocked and confused. Part 1 reviews some basics about this leukemia that may help you learn about it and start to cope. These basics may also help you start planning for treatment. Lymphocytes There are many types of blood cells. Three main types are platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. Each type has a different job. Platelets help control bleeding. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. White blood cells help fight germs. They are a part of your body’s disease- fighting (immune) system. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell and include NK ( n atural k iller) cells, B-cells, and T-cells. NK cells release chemicals that kill diseased cells. B-cells make antibodies that mark germs for killing. T-cells alert your body that germs are present, kill diseased cells, and help B-cells. CLL is a cancer of these B-cells. Most blood cells are made in bone marrow. See Figure 1 . Bone marrow is the soft tissue in the center of most bones. Blood cells leave bone marrow and travel in blood throughout your body. Figure 1 Blood cells in bone marrow Most blood cells are first formed in the marrow of bones. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are the three main types of blood cells. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. They help fight illness in your body. Illustration Copyright © 2017 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.