After undergoing medical therapy, people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) usually visit their doctors every three months for blood tests and a physical exam to ensure the condition is well managed. Often, the cancer goes into remission after treatment, meaning that the amount of abnormal lymphocytes is reduced enough that signs and symptoms of the disease are not apparent.
Some people can go for years without needing additional therapy, but chronic lymphocytic leukemia is likely to recur. When it does, our doctors continue to treat you, by using the same medications as before or by offering new therapies. Recently approved targeted medications and clinical trials of other promising medications have greatly improved the survival and wellbeing of people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Because this form of cancer is a chronic condition, developing an ongoing relationship with your healthcare team is an important part of your care. NYU Langone’s doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains, among others, are committed to supporting you through each stage of diagnosis and treatment. Several supportive services are also available at Perlmutter Cancer Center to help you and your family.
Ongoing Side Effect Management
Our supportive care specialists provide ongoing management of any side effects of chemotherapy or of the targeted and immunomodulating medications you may receive to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia. They may prescribe medications, recommend integrative therapies, or suggest an approach that combines the two.
Integrative health services include yoga and massage therapy, which can help to reduce stress, and acupuncture, which may relieve chemotherapy-related hot flashes.
Psychological and Social Support
Support groups and one-on-one counseling with a psycho-oncologist, a doctor who specializes in the psychological impact of cancer, are available to help you cope with depression, anxiety, or other emotional responses to having a chronic illness. Social workers are also available to help you address any financial matters that may arise during ongoing treatment.
Managing Weakness and Fatigue
Physical and occupational therapists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation offer a program of strength and aerobic exercise to address the weakness or fatigue caused by chronic lymphocytic leukemia or its treatment. After an evaluation, our doctors can prescribe a rehabilitation program, with the goal of enhancing your independence at home and in your community.
Neuropathy may be a side effect of chemotherapy. People with neuropathy have nerve damage that causes numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hands, feet, arms, legs, or other parts of the body.
Doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation may prescribe medication to ease the discomfort of neuropathy. Our physical therapists can work with you to ensure that neuropathy doesn’t interfere with your balance and strength or with your ability to walk and perform daily activities.
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