STEP 1: Prevention and early detection


The cause of CLL is unknown and there are currently no effective prevention strategies. At present, there is no evidence linking lifestyle or behavioural factors to prevention of CLL.

Risk factors

The risk factors for developing CLL include the following:

  • age (occurs mainly in people aged over 60)
  • gender (CLL is more common in males)
  • having a first-degree relative with CLL or other lymphoproliferative disorder
  • Caucasians are more likely to get CLL
  • exposure to chemicals such as Agent Orange is linked to lymphoproliferative disorders generally. Any potential causative link to CLL specifically has not been definitively established.

Early detection

CLL is usually slow growing and, in most cases, it is picked up early during routine blood tests for unrelated conditions.

There is currently no established benefit from early detection.

Screening recommendations

Routine screening for CLL is not currently recommended in either the general population or in relatives of people with CLL.

General health checklist

  • Recent weight changes discussed and the patient’s weight recorded
  • Alcohol intake and smoking status discussed and support offered if appropriate
  • Physical activity recorded
  • Referral to a dietitian considered