CLL Support Association


Hi there,

I have a pain in my left side under my ribs and I am worried about it, it hurts after I have eaten. I have my second heamotology appointment next week and will obviously mention it. Does anyone feel like because they have been told they have Leaukeamia that they must have another sort of cancer, I keep convincing myself I must have a tumour somewhere and this pain must be pancreatic cancer or something. Is that stupid. Would another form of cancer show up on the loads of blood they have already taken.

8 Replies

Hi Jan,

I know what you mean about fearing a new symptom might be a new cancer... I got pain under my ribs too, and was afraid I had stomach cancer (because my grandfather died of stomach cancer). When I had a scan and they said it was an enlarged spleen, I was very relieved. No one wants an enlarged spleen of course, but compared to my earlier fears, it was great news!

Not that I'm saying you've got an enlarged spleen too, but that there are other less serious reasons for pains in the abdomen than we might not have thought of. My spleen pain was complicated by gastritis and oesophagitis, that were easily treated with medications to reduce acid. Is the pain worse after certain sorts of foods, or does it come whatever you eat?

If the pain is bad (or even if it's not that bad), it would be helpful to go to your GP and see what they think. But it's good that it's only a week till your next appointment. You can write a list of questions for your haematologist. Tell him/her your fears and ask if any of the blood tests that were done, would shed any light on the cause of the pain.

Wishing you well,



Thanks Paula that is very helpful, it seems to just be everytime I eat something. My spleen was ok last time I had a hospital appointment six weeks ago.



First of all you would be surprised how many of us once diagnosed let our mind go into overdrive and imagine all sorts of negative things. This is only human and a reaction to being told we have a form of cancer! It brings out all sorts of ideas about life and death etc. So you are not alone in worrying about this sort of thing.

In respect of your pain let's look at it logically for a minute.

Firstly it occurs when you have eaten so we could deduce from this that it is when the stomach is full? Secondly you are obviously worried. This could cause tension in the nervous system and start a chain reaction. That is what causes irritable bowel syndrome in numerous cases. A common symptom of IBS is a pain on the left side .

Secondly as a CLLer it is common to be subjected to a slightly enlarged spleen when the cll cells hide in the nodes and the spleen and this can cause an uncomfortable feeling in the same place as you describe. This enlargement can also vary as the cells migrate into the blood stream. Indeed my spleen went up and down regularly but never became overly enlarged to worry my medical team.

Whilst you should indeed inform your med team of the symptom it may just be worth informing your GP or specialist nurse about how you feel before the next appointment.

You know dealing with cll is a holistic job and we need to realise that we will get fears along the way. Your medical team will understand this and should take into account our psychological situation when we get these little challenges!

It is highly unlikely that your symptoms mean there is a secondary cancer because the examinations you will have had to diagnose cll will have been pretty thorough and would have picked up any suggestions of this.

Many of us have been to support groups or have engaged in counselling because we have been afraid as we go on our journey. My advise to you is to ask for medical advice immediately not because of any underlying problem other than you need to put your mind at rest!

You did the right thing in posting your concerns now go get peace of mind.



Thankyou Geoff, I just dont want to be running to the doctors every time I get a pain but this one does seem to be getting worse so maybe I should.




You are a cll patient they have a duty of care because you have a chronic condition if you need advice ask them or your specialist nurse at hospital.

I was told that I should contact them anytime day or night because I was a member of an elite club !

You can always call them first if you don't want to visit.

Never be afraid to ask and get the service you deserve my girl.

They hate it at my surgery when I turn up they know I'm trouble lol


I agree with Geoff. If the pain is getting worse, definitely go to your GP (and not wait till next week's haemo appointment). They may want to order tests (which always take time to get organised), so the sooner the process starts, the better.

I'm not saying this to alarm you, but for your own peace of mind. Then you'll know you've done everything you can, and can hopefully put it out of your mind for a bit. (OK, maybe putting it completely out of mind is impossible, but you can try! :-)

best wishes,



By virtue of a Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) diagnosis... we must follow up on everything with our doctors...

90% of the time it will be minor... often aging, but occasionally it might be CLL related and needs to be dealt with further...

As a dear friend with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) told me years ago... 'Chris... the days of waiting to see if something gets better on its own....are over... prompt medical attention is mandatory...'

He had just had a very small cut on his finger... stuck a bandaid on it and never properly treated it... well it became infected, his body was overwhelmed with bacteria and he almost died...

So... a cautionary tale...

Aches, pains, lumps and bumbs, fevers, cuts and bruises need to be attended to by a soon as possible



Hi Jan,

Oh that nagging little creature that sits on our shoulder and taps at us endlessly whispering evil thoughts about sinister conditions!

When I developed a pain just like yours on the left side that little demon ate away at me and if you were to browse my viewing history at that time you'd see 'pancreatic cancer', 'stomach cancer' and probably even the Black Plague somewhere in there.

As others have said, logically, we have CLL and the spleen is the organ most implicated with it because it's basically the home of the lymphocyte. So a pain that occurs in that side is pretty much going to be connected with the spleen or nodes in that area. Feeling a pain after eating is a classic symptom of an enlarged spleen. I felt it and my spleen isn't all that enlarged but an ultrasound confirmed it. And I was relieved like Paula!

Get in touch with your doctor, explain your concerns and hopefully an examination and or an ultrasound will be arranged.

You need to do it for peace of's not big deal to them but it means a great deal to you.

I'm sure all will be well Jan.

Best wishes,



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