Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

These are some of the questions posed by members at our conferences:

What benefits are CLL patients entitled to?

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you are automatically entitled to the benefits available under the Equality Act (2010).

You may find that cancer has an impact on some of the practical aspects of your life. This may be because you have been unable to work for some time, and maybe your partner has had to take time out of work to care for you. Recovering from a financially difficult situation can be a challenging and complicated process. It may be important to know that under the Equality Act (2010), you automatically meet the disability definition from the day you are diagnosed with cancer.

This is a complicated area, and a very good summary of the rules can be found here from our sister charity Leukaemia Care.

Do I have to inform the DVLA if I have CLL?

It is not a requirement to inform the DVLA that you have CLL. However, there may be some provisos if you drive a certain category of vehicle like a bus, lorry, public service vehicle etc.

Does CLL cause fatigue?

Many patients report extreme fatigue with CLL, and it’s an area that is too often ignored, and it can in some cases be very debilitating. It is important to say, however, that every patient is different, and also at different stages of the disease, and fatigue does not affect everyone equally.

Can I live a normal life with CLL?

We encourage people to live as normal a life as possible with CLL, but this does vary on whether you are on watch and wait, in treatment, or have fatigue. However, many patients have a full and enjoyable life after diagnosis and keep active. Our slogan is: ‘Live well with CLL’ and many patients can achieve this.

Will my CLL get worse?

CLL is a chronic disease, which means it usually takes time to develop, sometimes quite a long time, before treatment is considered. Your CLL specialist doctor will monitor your blood results regularly to see how your CLL is progressing and you can ask to see the results and also how things are going.

Am I more at risk of infections because of my CLL?

The short answer is that, as a CLL patient you at a higher risk of infections, because your immune system is weakened. This means that you are not able to resist infections so well as someone with a normal immune system. It is important that have the vaccinations as recommended elsewhere on this site (see ‘Vaccinations’) and try to keep away from anyone with colds, ‘flu or other infections. Keep your hands clean and, where possible, avoid crowded places.

Can I exercise with CLL?

It’s a good idea to exercise normally or, perhaps, even increase your daily/weekly exercise, with the agreement of your consultant. It is likely that fitter patients may cope with treatment better when it becomes necessary. Even if you suffer from fatigue, light exercise can help, although you may find it more difficult.