Hi Anon - Thank you for writing to us. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is one of four main types of leukemia. About 15,490 new cases of CLL will be diagnosed in 2009. It is estimated that 85,710 people in the United States are living with or are in remission from CLL.
As Dr. Tenny said, the cause isn't really known and there's a lot of speculation. Changes in chromosomes (genetic material) that occur during life have been associated with CLL. Some reports have associated CLL with exposure to radiation and to toxic chemicals, such as benzene (common in agriculture, paint manufacture, and dye manufacture) and Agent Orange (an herbicide used in the Vietnam war). Again, those reports are speculative and the cause remains unknown.
What's really important right now is to learn as much as you can about your treatment options. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society provides a wealth of information, at no cost, through their website. You can find information on CLL here:
If you have additional questions please don't hesitate to write. I have Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) and would be happy to share information and resources that can assist you.
Take good care,
EmpowHer Cancer Guide