“Small lymphocytic lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. It is a non- Hodgkin’s disease that affects white blood cells.”

SLL is one type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, along with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the two cancers as the same disease, and they’re treated in the same way. The only difference between each cancer is its location in the body.

When cancer cells are found in the blood, they are called CLL, while SLL is called SLL. As cancer cells grow and spread, CLL can progress to SLL.

CLL is the most common form of leukemia among adults in the United States, making up 25 to 30 percent of cases.

In 2021, doctors will diagnose about 21,250 new cases of CLL in the United States. Each person’s lifetime risk of getting CLL is 1 in 175.

People with SLL may not have any obvious signs. Some people may not know they have the disease.

The main symptom of SLL is a painless swelling in the neck, armpit, and groin. It is caused by cancer cells in the lysy.

Other symptoms can include them.

  • fatigue
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • There is a high degree of fever.
  • The night sweats on.
  • tender belly
  • It felt like a big appetite.
  • The breath was very thin.
  • It was easy to bruise.
  • There are skin problems.

The immune system can be made harder to fight off infections if working B cells are lost.

“Doctors don’t know what causes SLL. Scientists haven’t pinpointed a single gene that causes lymphoma, but it sometimes runs in families.”

First-degree relatives, including siblings, children, or parents of people with this type of cancer, have double the risk of developing it and may develop it at an earlier age.

While this cancer is mostly seen in adults ages 70 and older, it can occur in adults as young as 30. However, it is rare in children.

Risk factors for developing SLL and CLL can include:

  • Older age.
  • Family history.
  • Exposure to certain pesticides for a long time.
  • Exposure to the radioactive substance at home.

If you have worked on a farm, you may be at higher risk of this cancer.

“SLL can be diagnosed by taking a biopsy of a lymph node. Local anesthesia is the first thing you’ll do to numb the area. General anesthesia may be used if the enlarged node is deep in your chest or belly.”

The doctor removes part or all of the affected lymph nodes during a biopsy. The sample is sent to a laboratory for testing.

Doctors can see signs of CLL on a peripheral blood test. The appearance, count, and shape of red and white blood cells and platelets are looked at in this blood test.

Other tests can be used to diagnose SLL and CLL.

  • A physical exam to check for enlarged lysies.
  • Blood tests.
  • X-ray or computed tomographic scans are used for these tests.
  • The FISH test is used to detect chromosomal abnormality.
  • The bone marrow is being aspiration and examined.
  • Flow cytometry can be used to detect leukemia cells and cell surface markers.

Whether you receive a diagnosis of SLL or CLL can depend on the number of lymphocytes in the blood. For a diagnosis of SLL, you must have an enlarged lymph node or spleen with fewer than 5,000 monoclonal, or cancerous, lymphocytes per cubic millimeter in the blood. For CLL, you must have at least 5,000 monoclonal lymphocytes per cubic millimeter in the blood.

Because this type of cancer grows so slowly, not everyone with SLL needs treatment right away, according to the American Cancer Society.

“If you don’t have symptoms, your doctor may recommend watching and waiting. Your doctor will not treat you if he watches the cancer. If your cancer spreads or you develop symptoms, you will start treatment.”

The same treatment is used for SLL and CLL.

Treatment options can include:

  • Radiation therapy. Lymphoma that’s only in one lymph node may be treated with radiation therapy. Radiation uses high energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can be given orally or through an IV. These drugs can target and destroy cancer cells. Doctors use chemotherapy drugs such as chlorambucil (Leukeran), fludarabine (Fludara), and bendamustine (Treanda).
  • Monoclonal antibodies. These drugs help your immune system find and destroy cancer cells. Monoclonal antibody drugs, such as rituximab (Rituxan, MabThera) or obinutuzumab (Gazyva), can sometimes be used in addition to chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy drugs. These drugs work by targeting specific proteins, such as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, which allows the lymphoma cells to grow, and BCL-2, a protein that helps extend the lifespan of these cells.
  • Supportive care. This type of treatment targets health problems that may be related to the cancer, such as viral or bacterial infections and low blood counts.
  • Stem cell transplant. Some people may receive a stem cell treatment to replenish bone marrow after high doses of chemotherapy. This can help prevent infections and let doctors use a stronger dose of chemotherapy to target cancer cells.

“If the first treatment doesn’t work, your doctor will either repeat the same treatment or give you a new one. You can ask your doctor about the trial.”

Clinical trials are studies that test new drugs. They may provide additional treatment options for people who have not had the desired level of success with previous treatments.

The clinical trial began in May of the existing therapies used to treat cancer. Sometimes the sponsor of a clinical trial will cover the cost of treatment.

placebos are sometimes used in phase 3 studies, but they are never used alone if there is a treatment that works.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, you can search for trials you may be eligible for on the NIH National Cancer Institute website.

The SLL stage shows how far your cancer has spread. Knowing the stage can help your doctor find the right treatment.

The Ann Ann Arbor staging system is used for SLL staging. Doctors assign the cancer a stage number.

  • How many of the lymph nodes have cancer?
  • Where those Lymph nodes are located in your body.
  • The affected lysysy are above, below or on both sides of your body.
  • The cancer has spread to other organs.

Stage I and II SLL are considered early stage cancers. Stage III and IV are the most advanced stages of cancer.

  • Stage I. Cancer cells are in only one area of lymph nodes.
  • Stage II. Two or more groups of lymph nodes contain cancer cells, but they’re all on the same side of the diaphragm (either in the chest or belly).
  • Stage III. Cancer is in lymph nodes both above and below the diaphragm, or in the spleen.
  • Stage IV. Cancer has spread to at least one other organ, such as the liver, lung, or bone marrow.

Your outlook will be affected by a number of variables, such as your age and general health. It is a slow-growing cancer. It is manageable with treatment.

“SLL comes back after being treated. Most people will need a few rounds of treatment to keep their cancer under control. You may have breaks in between where you don’t need treatment.”

New treatments may increase the chance that you will go into a state of cancer free remission for a longer period of time. Other new therapies are tested in clinical trials.