CLL Support Association
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Test Results Questions

I am in watch and wait being diagnosed about 6 months ago. I had a checkup on Jan 5 and got a copy of the blood tests. Dr. did not express concern about results but I have questions. Neut# went from 4.6 four months ago to 8.4. Lymph% went from 23 to 45.5. RDW was about the same at 14.5. WBC went from 28.7 to 58.6. I had been dealing with a bad cold and a node in my neck swelled but returned to normal in 3 days or so. I am feeling much better now and have no cause for concern other than the numbers. I have the 13q deletion, mutated. Any thoughts?

4 Replies

The increase in your WBC, in particular the leap in your neutrophil count is usually consistent with an infection Elam and the cold may have caused some infection which made your lymph node temporarily rise.

The important thing is you are feeling much better now with physical symptoms having eased. However, I’m sure your specialist will be keen to make sure your counts are not rising in this way as a consistent trend.

I’m experiencing a similar phenomenon at the moment (but my levels are very much higher). An ultrasound has found my spleen to be very enlarged so I’m having a CT scan.

Hopefully this was an infection related blip in your case but should your ALC continue to double over this length of time in the future, it usually indicates the CLL is ramping up a bit. Make sure you report these levels in absolute rather than percentage counts because percentages are less illustrative.

Sounds very much like a blip however.

Best wishes,



Thanks for the info. Hope your tests go well.

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I agree fully with everything Newdawn wrote. Your WBC, Neut# and Lymph% are all likely to vary a lot without providing useful information about your CLL. The most significant number for tracking your CLL is Lymph# or ALC, and even that will have some "noise."

It's best to look at long term trends over 4 or more consecutive test results. Some of the better electronic patient portals will display graphs of your results over 10 or more past tests. You can also record and view graphs of your results with spread sheets from here: Tracking your blood test results and much more - new workbook available!

Your RDW & LDH numbers along with RBC, Hemaglobin, Hemacrit and platelets will likely remain steady until your bone marrow gets crowded with CLL, then change suddenly.


Here is an introduction/ overview of CLL and common terms- very easy to read and understand

Or something similar as a white board animation/spoken dialogue:

If you want to learn in more depth, and you enjoy reading text online, this site has an more comprehensive learning course that can also bring you up to speed on the CLL specific discoveries learned over the last few years

If you do better with explanatory videos Start here:

Patient Power is a for-profit patient education website offers instructive videos and more on many health topics including CLL.

Among those videos is my favorite "explainer" of lab tests & results - Dr. Susan LeClair

here is a list of links to other resources:



Thanks very much. Very good information.


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