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Signs to Start CLL Treatment: Following the “Tempo” of Your Condition

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Published on June 4, 2018

Determining when to begin chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treatment is unique to individual patients, and may be critical in survivorship, but the signs to start are similar. What factors indicate it’s time to treat? On location at CLL Live in Niagara Falls, Canada, CLL expert Dr. Nicole Lamanna, from Columbia University Medical Center, joins us to discuss ways patients can monitor their CLL development through the rhythm, or “tempo” of the disease and how this will influence the treatment plan. Dr. Lamanna also explains that despite obtaining the important information from genetic testing, there are other elements that shape disease risk and suggest the right time for therapy. Watch now to find out more.

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Transcript | Signs to Start CLL Treatment: Following the “Tempo” of Your Condition

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

One of the things that caught me, Nicole, that you said is you said we have all this testing now, blood testing, sometimes bone marrow testing, all kind of cytogenetic, genomic, testing.  Are you 13q or 17p?  Are you mutated, unmutated?  All these things, and yet you said that you have the testing but really what's important is to understand, you used the word the tempo of your CLL.  So what is the tempo of your CLL, and why is that important today?  

So regardless of what we know about all these sophisticated tests, if you don't need therapy, we're basing it on the tempo of what your disease is doing.  So we're following your blood counts.  We're following your physical exam and how quickly things may be growing if you have big, bulky lymph nodes, or if their blood counts are worsening and declining and then you would become more symptomatic perhaps from your blood count perspective.  

And so tempo is still going to deem when somebody's going to initiate therapy.  I think the chromosomal abnormalities and the mutational testing, though are important and relevant, because depending upon if at the time you do need therapy, we are now becoming more sophisticated, that we may select different types of therapy based on that information.  

And so tempo is still going to be the most important factor in terms of when somebody is going to get treatment based on how we're following you. And if you're a person who has been years without needing therapy, then the likelihood is that we can almost predict what those fancy tests would show because you've been, you know, 10 years without needing therapy for your CLL.  And so that tempo says a lot.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.