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Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common leukaemia in the western world, with an incidence of around 5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year. It is characterised by an increase in the number of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, and is often found by accident in a routine analysis.
The disease is more common in Europe and North America than in Asia or Africa. Incidence of the disease increases with age, and the average age of diagnosis is 72 years. CLL is twice as common in men than women.
Over 85% of patients have no symptoms when diagnosed (often by chance after a blood analysis), while in the rest of the patients this accumulation of lymphocytes causes the growth of lymph nodes or viscera (such as the spleen or liver), or even a decrease in the amount of other blood cells, such as red blood cells and platelets.
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