CLL Support Association

Blood Count...Eh? What does this mean?

Hi all

Due to see the Haematologist on Monday for the first time since diagnosis a couple or three weeks ago and after looking through posts on this most informative site I have taken the advice and obtained my FBC from the GP. I think I understand that the right hand side is the ideal figures you need to be between, but a little confused as to the actual readings and their relation to the standard. The figure for my white cell count is higher than it should be, but I can't relate that to is it, not so bad and just a little high, meh, just average for CLL or is it oh oh Houston we have a problem? I'm thinking that as I have no symptoms it is not so bad? Here's hoping. I will just list the ones that are outside the 'limits' and their standards, any advice appreciated.

The comments that went with the FBC were

A blood film has been examined


Smear/smudge cells present (passed to consultant Haematologist for comment)

Moderate lymphocystosis with many smear cells noted

Platelets are normal in number

Blood film findings are in favour of CLL

Total white cell count 18.5 10*9/L 4.00 -11.00 10*9/L

Lymphocyte count 11.56 10*9/L 1.50 - 4.00 10*9/L

Everything else was in range.

Cheers All

4 Replies

Hi Andy

Welcome to our select band - what matters with cll is the rate of change of the Lymphocyte count or symptoms like enlarged nodes. So you will need a few blood tests to see how the counts change over time. With luck your numbers will only change slowly and you will have no symptoms and not need treatment for many years.

Learn sufficient to discuss your cll with your doctors and then try and forget it. Easier said than done but best to get on with life while you have few symptoms.

A good place to start is

take care



Thanks Myrdin


G'day Andy,

Well done for being proactive and asking for a FBC and obtaining a copy of your results for review with your Haematologist.

Lymphocytosis just means a high white blood cell count - which is exactly what you'd expect with a CLL diagnosis. In monitoring your CLL for progression, your specialist will track your Lymphocyte count (termed your ALC or Absolute Lymphocyte Count), which at 11.56 is fairly low for someone with CLL. Most of us have counts much higher, typically 5 to 10 times that, with some here having counts in excess of 200.

'Smear/smudge cells present' is another frequently comment seen on the FBC results from CLL patients. Smudge cells are just broken CLL cells (B-Lymphocytes). CLL cells are more fragile than B-Lymphocytes and are easily broken when a blood sample is taken.

There are two pinned posts you should find reassuring to read:

When do white count numbers trigger treatment?

How high can you go? (And what does it matter?)

Given everything else in your FBC is normal, you'd fall in your "not so bad and just a little high, meh" category!

Expect a boring consult (the best kind) with your specialist. :)

If you are interested, you can track your FBC results on a spreadsheet. There's one available on the CLL Society's website and I hope to release an even more comprehensive one on the website.



Thanks Neil, boring sounds good to me at this point! I have felt a lot of re-assurance from posts on here, so thanks for that




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