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Hairy Cell Leukemia Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Hairy Cell Leukemia?

It is a rare blood cancer wherein the bone marrow produces excessive B cells named lymphocytes. Basically, lymphocytes are a kind of white blood cells which helps our body fight against infection. Moreover, excessive B cells produced by the bone marrow seem ‘hairy’ when observe under a microscope and are abnormal.

As the production of these leukemia cells tend to boost, the production of healthy platelets, RBC and WBC decreases. More often, this slow growing cancer affects men as compared to women, whilst it usually targets individuals of older and middle ages.

Doctors and researchers are working hard to identify the cause of hairy cell leukemia. Unfortunately, it is incurable. It is believed to be a chronic disease as it never disappears entirely; however its treatment can lead a partial remission for some years.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Common symptoms of hairy cell leukemia are:

  • Weight loss.
  • Weakness.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Fullness or pain in your upper left belly.
  • Recurrent fevers and infections.
  • Fatigue.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Easy bleeding or bruising.
  • Feeling of fullness after consuming just a small amount of meal.

What Causes Hairy Cell Leukemia?

The disease is rooted by excessive B cells production. When observed under a microscope, these cells seem ‘hairy’, as these cells have fine projections that extend from their surfaces. Often, hairy cell leukemia leads to a considerable low amount of normal blood cells.
Researchers are working hard to understand what triggers the disease. However; they are aware of the fact that cancer arises when the cells develop mutation or say error in their DNA. Thus; mutation in the DNA sources the stem cells of the bone marrow to produce excessive amounts of abnormal WBC. Though, they have failed to identify the trigger that causes mutation in the cell’s DNA.

What Are The Potential Complications Of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

The disease causes low blood counts that can lead to excessive bleeding, fatigue and infections.

How Is Hairy Cell Leukemia Diagnosed?

During the visit, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam, wherein he or she will possibly notice a swollen liver or spleen. In order to evaluate the swelling, the doctor can carry out an ultrasound or abdominal CT scan. Often, a complete blood count reveals low levels of platelets, WBC and RBC. By means of bone marrow biopsy and blood tests, the doctor can spot hairy cells.

How Is Hairy Cell Leukemia Treated?

Often, treatment is not needed for the initial stages of hairy cell leukemia. Though, few patients can require a blood transfusion, occasionally. Treatment becomes mandatory for the patients with considerable low blood counts, for the purpose, chemotherapy drugs are used. In addition to this, removing the spleen can increase the blood counts, however is improbable to cure hairy cell leukemia. For infections, the doctor can prescribe antibiotics.

Is Hairy Cell Leukemia Preventable?

Since the exact cause of hairy cell leukemia is ambiguous, its prevention becomes almost impossible!


By : Natural Health News

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