How Long Can You Live with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia?

When dealing with diseases, an important aspect of medicine is to know the outcome of a patient. It helps the doctor understand what he can do to make patients’ life easier and decide when and how to treat, as well as to inform the patient properly about their condition. This aspect is called a “prognosis”. In cancers, doctors avoid using terms like completely cured and only use them in very few types of cancers. Instead, they use terms like remission and survival, which can feel harsh or depressing. Survival in cancers is measured by percentage over a period of time. For example, a testicular cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 95%. Which means that the percentage of men who live for more than 5 years following their diagnosis is 95%.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common chronic leukemia in adults, and about a million humans are affected each year of whom less than 7% die. It is different from most types of leukemia in its age predilection. It rarely involves humans before the age of 50, and more commonly affects males. If you have to choose one type of leukemia, it should be chronic lymphocytic leukemia and here are the reasons:

You are more likely to die of old age

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia mostly affects people above 50 or even 60 years old, and the mean 5-year survival is 83% with some patients living up to 2 decades with this type of leukemia. Thus, other “normal” causes of death have as much of a chance of killing you as CLL.