Understanding More about Hairy Cell Leukemia
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia that was originally described in 1958 by Bouroncle and colleagues. This is a B-cell disease, and the abnormal cell has hair like cytoplasmic projections on its surface. Hairy cell leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. HCL is caused by the abnormal growth of B cells. The cells look “hairy” under the microscope because they have fine projections coming from their surface. Hairy cell leukemia can lead to low numbers of normal blood cells.
Hairy Cell Leukemia Risk Factor
Hairy cell leukemia affects more men than women, and it occurs most commonly in middle-aged or older adults. This deals with Hairy Cell Leukemia Sex risk. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. The cause of hairy cell leukemia is unknown.
It occurs more often in older men. Hairy cell leukemia can occur in both men and women. Most people inflicted with hairy cell leukemia are 40 to 70 years old. Hairy cell leukemia gets its name from the existence of abnormally shaped lymphocytic white blood cells. These white blood cells have hair-like projections, hence the name hairy cell leukemia. The most trusted method of diagnosing hairy cell leukemia is a bone marrow biopsy.
Hairy Cell Leukemia Symptoms and Treatment
Because hairy cell leukemia is a blood related disease, most symptoms show up when the disease has progressed enough to alter a person’s blood. Possible hairy cell leukemia symptoms include a swollen spleen and increased infections. The swollen spleen symptom of hairy cell leukemia is a result of tumors. The symptom of increased infections usually results from a low white blood cell count.
The symptoms also include weakness or feeling tired, fever or frequent infections, easy bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath, weight loss for no known reason, pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs, and painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin. When you feel those signs, you must see your doctor immediately.
Your doctor will have examination and test. During a physical exam, the doctor may be able to feel a swollen spleen or liver. An abdominal CT scan may be done to evaluate this swelling in order to determine the hairy cell leukemia.
The team of leukemia experts at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) uses immunotherapy and/or targeted drug therapies to block the growth and spread of hairy cell leukemia and prevent Hairy Cell Leukemia Recurrence. Unlike standard chemotherapy which affects all cells in the body, these therapies directly target leukemia cells, helping to reduce damage to healthy cells and minimize side effects.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to block the growth and spread of cancer cells by preventing the cells from dividing or directly destroying them. Targeted drug therapy blocks the growth and spread of hairy cell leukemia by interfering with specific molecules needed for growth.