Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common type of leukemia, or blood cancer, in American adults. More than 175,000 men and women in the U.S. are currently living with CLL—and many of them are living very well. While there is not yet a cure for the condition, a wide range of effective treatments are available. And some people don’t need any treatment if the CLL is slow-growing or in a period of remission. When is leukemia in remission? There are two types of CLL remission: complete and partial. CLL is considered to be in complete remission (CR) if your blood tests no longer show the presence of CLL and you don’t have symptoms such as swelling in your lymph nodes or spleen. CLL is considered to be in partial remission (PR) if you’re symptom-free, but some amount of CLL remains in your blood. In addition to standard treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, newer treatments are being tested and are helping people achieve partial and complete remission for longer than ever. These include: Immunotherapy: Drugs that work with the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells much like it would attack other diseases. Chemotherapy combined with a stem cell transplant: After traditional chemo kills cancerous (and healthy) cells in the body, a stem cell transplant replaces them with all new healthy cells. Targeted drugs: These new medications attack specific substances that help cancer cells multiply and survive, while leaving healthy cells alone. It can be hard to live with a cancer like CLL that doesn’t go away permanently, and instead ebbs and flows. But if you’ve reached remission, there’s still a lot to celebrate, and remission can last years. You can return to your normal life but will also need to keep up with your healthcare team periodically to monitor for signs of your cancer returning. This can be a bittersweet experience, and many people with CLL benefit from support groups and mental health counseling. What happens if CLL comes back? CLL can be in remission for many years, but there’s always a possibility it will come back. This is called a recurrence. Whether you find the chance of recurrence mildly disconcerting or totally alarming—your reaction is normal. Try to keep in mind that if it happens, much can be done, recurrences can be effectively managed, and your healthcare team will be there for you. Depending on the progression of CLL in your blood and the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend repeating previous treatments or trying new treatments. Treatments may be combined or given on a different schedule. Treatment is not usually given immediately, however. Typically, doctors take a “watch and wait,” or active surveillance approach, just like with slow-growing CLL. This helps determine whether your CLL blood counts and symptoms are getting better or worse over time before taking action. People living with CLL often want to know what they can do to reduce their risk of recurrence. Unfortunately, there are no proven methods, but healthy lifestyle choices such as following a heart-healthy diet and getting regular exercise are always a good idea. As with any chronic condition, taking good care of yourself means regular follow-up appointments with your doctor and testing for the rest of your life. Make this follow-up care a priority, but take it easy on yourself emotionally. It’s reasonable to have concerns, and you’ll likely need some support. Talk openly about your feelings with trusted friends and family members and don’t be afraid to turn to a mental health professional for help managing expectations and stress.