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CLL Support Association
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ALC (absolute lymphocyte count)

Hi everyone,

Sorry to sound dumb here but I am looking at a copy of my husband's blood work and just need a bit of guidance.

He was diagnosed last June (at the tender age of 39) through a random health screen. We are obviously keen to see what his counts have done in the last 6-8 months. He has been in for a pre-op appointment (for something else unrelated) where they took blood and I have a copy of the results. His next appointment with the hemotologist is end of next month.

When looking at his blood report - are the Lymphocytes the same as the ALC, i.e. is this the only count I need to look at to assess the ALC?

Many thanks.

10 Replies

Check out clltopics.org/Primer.htm and cllcanada.ca/2010/index.htm especially cllcanada.ca/2010/pages/CLL...

The ALC does stand for Absolute Lymphocyte Count, but it is not the only important blood component to watch, but it can act like a wind sock- it tells you which direction the disease is headed and how strongly it is moving. It can be used as a simple signal to show the disease is indolent (moving very slowly- may not need treatment for many years if ever) or aggressive ( expect treatment in the next year(s)).

The ALC and other blood tests will jump around from test to test, so don't get alarmed over changes between 2 tests. Long term trends, like 4 or 5 tests per year will tell more than a single pair of tests.

When the ALC doubles steadily in less than one year, it suggests the need to see the doctors more often (Hem/Onc) have them watch for "B" symptoms & other blood tests for signs of decline in bone marrow function like RBC, Hemoglobin, platelets, etc. and also a more immune compromised state: low ANC, IGG, IGA, IGM.

It takes time to learn all the lingo, and it helps to have a supportive Hem/Onc doctor aid you in understanding this very complex disease. But keep trying, asking us questions, and read information from reliable sources like:




(BTW- even though this HealthUnlocked site is primarily UK & Australia contributors- you and I both use American spelling so I am guessing you are in North America. There are several other on line groups that spell things our way like CLLSLL Yahoo Group, CLL forum, etc.)



Can some please explain initials ie whats FCR as I get lost ? however guys and girls thanks for all the information. im new to CLL (oops initials ) and very anxious my blood count lymphocites ? was 7.8 whne diagnosed nowdown to 5.5 again

and doc gp says other are normal whatever that means no one explains not even at the support group

whats GA 101 invented in 2103 --and why is the new immunology stuff Cardiff prof fergan invented GA 101 now being made by Roche and not available to Uk unless trial or near end ? very confused and worried


Hi colincll10,

You picked up a discussion from 3 years ago-thanks for using the search feature to view the archives. Now there are much better resources now- from the CLL Society and Patient Power.

I suggest you click these links:


and then go up a level to


and click each subject in the column on the left side and in the boxes across the bottom.

Those make a great starting educational course "CLL 101".

If you prefer videos see:




then you can view the entire list of videos and click more from this page:



1 like

len wow what does all that mean ANC, IGG, IGA, IGM

sorry lost me about a sentence in after ALC which I now know thanks


ANC = Absolute Neutrophil Count

IgA, G and M are antibodies (immunoglobulins), which are a very important part of our immune system and which generally drop over time when you have CLL.


Hello Len

The community is made up slightly differently than you perceive

With UK members in the majority, US members a close second, followed by Canadians and then Australians and other nations.

Shellsb these are a few previous conversations here in the community on ALC healthunlocked.com/cllsuppo...


if you are in the UK your ALC may be given on your blood report as Lymphocytes/lymph



1 like

Thanks Len and Nick,

I am in the UK and the blood report does list Lymphocytes.

His blood all looks quite positive from his diagnosis in June (and his last test in Sept 13), therefore fingers crossed for next test in March.

Many thanks again for all your help.


Hi because of the age of your husband you should ask to see a CLL specialist you can down load the list from the Cll support web site. Best of luck


Thanks Jangreen - we have actually seen a specialist - Professor John Gribbin at Bart's just after diagnosis. He was great and very positive about the future treatments etc!


Snap! I too am being treated at Bart's by Dr Agrawal the medical advisor to Cll Support Group. Best wishes


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