CLL Stress and Anxiety


For people affected by CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukaemia), SLL (small lymphocytic lymphoma), or HCL (hairy cell leukaemia) to get together, ask questions, share experiences and support each other.

CLL Stress and Anxiety

No. of entries: 53 | No.of favourites: 0 | Posted on 05 Nov 2012 04:25
  • I explored stress and CLL life a year or so ago and was able then to conclude that managing stress was going to be an important part of my journey with CLL. How do I remove what may not benefit my general health over time? Does the stress induced by life with CLL have an effect on the CLL?


    There seems to be plenty written that is not CLL specific suggesting it may have an impact on life with the disease by further affecting our general health, immunity, disease progression and response to treatment? Enough for me to realise that stress management must play a significant role in our quality of life. There are so many ways we can improve this and so many different approaches to this. I’d be interested to hear how others combat it to enable them to get on with things.


    I noticed that NHS Direct Wales provide their own CLL overview (it is worth a read) and interestingly does acknowledge some of the possible psychological effects of living with the disease and recommendations to help with this. This may be useful when seeking support.


    Psychological effects

    Receiving a diagnosis of chronic leukaemia can be very distressing, particularly if it is unlikely that your condition can be cured. At first, the news may be difficult to take in.

    The situation can be made worse if you are confronted with the knowledge that even though your leukaemia may not currently be causing any symptoms, it could be a serious problem in later life. Having to wait many years to see how the leukaemia develops can be immensely stressful and can trigger feelings of anxiety and depression.

    If you have been diagnosed with leukaemia, talking to a counsellor or psychiatrist (a doctor who specialises in treating mental health conditions) may help you to combat feelings of depression and anxiety. Antidepressants or medicines that help to reduce feelings of anxiety may also help you cope better with the condition.

    You may find it useful to talk to other people who are living with leukaemia. Your GP or care team may be able to provide you with details of local support groups.

    Another excellent resource is Macmillan Cancer Support. Their helpline number is 0808 808 00 00 and is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.



    I know some of you have heart worries and other issues. Sometimes these may have hidden benefits and not just exclude us from treatments adding to stress. Good luck Jue and Sparkler with your monitoring I hope they get to the bottom of things for you.


    As a CLL nerd, I was helped to overcome the psychological effects of a recent intervention and diagnosis of heart disease. When I realised that the medications that it left me on may actually be helping my CLL. According to the findings of an animal study published last year by the Neuroimmunology Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University Israel discussing a link between leukaemia progression and Psychological stress? It suggested a need for long term study of beta blockade( :  I am a lot calmer these days LOL. The paper is a bit scientific but it did show me a link.


    Do Stress Responses Promote Leukemia Progression?



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  • Hi there, I found this really helpful. He mentions stress about 5 minutes in to the video clip. You may have seen it already.


    It's been interesting and helpful reading the posts over the weekend around feelings of shame.

    best wishes 


    adam x

  • H i Sparkler

    You are right, it is often another issue that identifies it for us. It is also harder when the needs of the community may not be widespreadly recognised and not readily provided for also making it even harder to be able to act if your wish too. I find the link between the psychological and the physiological intriguing. The effect of stress on our immune system in particular, if we have a cancer of the immune system then this is directly affected in some way or other?


    I am interested in peoples coping strategies.


    Yes a chill pill could be one (prescribed LOL) I hope you can get your antibiotics too. it's good to hear you out and about a bit





  • Hey all,

    Dabbling with a bit of "mindfulness" training at the moment - sort of living in the moment meditation and gentle stretching routines. I do this in addition to walking loads, and more strenuous cardio-vascular exercise such as rowing and swimming.  I honestly find that the buzz I get from exercising is the best antidote to stress.  It also makes me feel as if I have at least some control over my body...

    check out the mindfulness master Jon Kabat-Zin  in this little taster session

    and then work your way gradually through the four guided sessions (about 45 mins each) on this tape

    I love it - it makes me realise how much extra "stuff" is going on in my head all the time and getting in the way of just being grounded in the world.  It's hard to slow down at first though - see what you think...

    It's being used quite successfully  for depression and pain relief at the moment.

    Be interested in hearing what people think, or whether folks are already using this technique...

    Jules xxx


     Thanks for the links Adam and Julia I will have a read and get back. Sparkler, laughter has to be high on my list I made a few notes last year that I can add to yours.and revisit.Here's a thought, laughter may improve our faulty immune system but:.


    Is there another side to CLL too; there is always the question if we should stimulate our immune system, could this stimulate the disease?


    Humour and the positive emotions – love, faith, purpose, determination, the will-to-live, and hope- are a powerful biochemical prescription for dispelling foreboding and despair, and the deep feelings of apprehension and panic that accompany serious illness. Humour radically stimulates the whole immune system, significantly increasing immunoglobulins and T cells, B cells, Natural Killer cells (which seek out and destroy normal cancer cells that they can recognise) and Cytokine Gamma Interferon (which inhibits tumour growth). Humour boosts the whole immune system.


    we know our tumour cells being part of the same system (B cells) cannot be recognised so I can justify why I don't laugh as much any more.


    So I don;t feel to bad when i'm  being a grumpy not so happy CLL patient some of the time.


    Boosting the immune system is a popular theme in fighting cancer and laughter underpins this. But its OK for us not to smile it may be good for us too. LOL???


    A funny