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Hairy cell leukemia


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Title: Hairy cell leukemia

Snippet Hairy Cell Leukemia article has reliable
information about this disease. It covers major
topics like Diagnosis, Prognosis, Symptoms,
Treatment, survival rate, Causes. Cancer disease
can always be a life threatening disease. There
are some of the chronic type of cancers Hairy
Cell Leukemia is one among them. The article
Hairy Cell Leukemia has reliable information
about this disease. It covers major topics like
Diagnosis, Prognosis, Symptoms, Treatment,
survival rate, Causes.
1. About Hairy Cell Leukemia Hairy cell leukemia
is a blood cancer which is rare and slowgrowing,
in this type of cancer your bone marrow produces
too much B cells (lymphocytes), a type of white
blood cell that fights infections. These excess
B cells are abnormal and look "hairy" under a
microscope. There will be a increase in the
number of leukemia, which will reduce healthy
platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells
are produced. Hairy cell leukemia affects more
males than females and occurs most often in
middle-aged and older adults.
Hairy cell leukemia will be treated as a chronic
disease because it will never go away
completely, although treatment may lead to
remission for years.
2. Leukemia Symptoms Some people have no symptoms
or signs of hairy cell leukemia, but a blood
test for another disease or condition may
inadvertently reveal Hairy Cell Leukemia.
  • At other times, people with hairy cell leukemia
    have signs and symptoms common to a number of
    diseases and symptoms are listed below
  • A feeling of fullness in your abdomen that can
    make it uncomfortable to eat more than a little
    at a time Weightloss Weakness Recurrent
    infections Easy bruise Tired

2.1. When to see a doctor Try to consult your
doctor if you have persistent signs and symptoms
that worry you.
  • Leukemia Causes
  • It is not known what causes hairy cell leukemia.
  • Doctors know that cancer occurs when cells
    develop errors in their DNA. In this case,
    mutations in DNA cause bone marrow stem cells to
    create too many white blood cells that are not
    functioning properly. Doctors do not know what is
    causing the mutations in DNA that lead to hairy
    cell leukemia.
  • Risk factors
  • Some factors may increase your risk of developing
    hairy cell leukemia. Not all research studies
    agree on which factors increase your risk of the

According to some research studies the risk of
Hairy Cell Leukemia increases with 3.1.1.
Radiation Exposure
  • People exposed to radiation, such as those
    working around x-ray machines or those who have
    received radiation treatment for cancer, may be
    at a higher risk of developing hairy cell
    leukemia, but the proper evidence is not found.
  • Exposure To Chemicals
  • Agricultural and Industrial chemicals may play a
    role in the development of hairy cell leukemia.
    However, some studies have found that this is not
    the case.
  • Exposure To Sawdust
  • Some studies have found a link between working
    with sawdust and wood and an increased risk of
    hairy cell leukemia. But this is not proved
  • Ethnicity
  • Men of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry more frequently
    suffered from this disease other than men from
    other ethnic groups.
  • 4. Complications
  • Hairy cell leukemia progresses very slowly and
    sometimes remains stable for many years. For
    will result in few complications of the disease
    to occur.
  • Untreated hairy cell leukemia that progresses can
    reduce healthy blood cells, resulting in serious
    side effects, such as
  • Infections
  • The low number of white blood cells puts you at
    risk for infections.
  • Bleeding
  • The low platelet count makes it difficult for
    your body to stop bleeding if you get hurt. If
    your platelet count is moderately low, you may
    notice that you have bruises more easily. A very
    low platelet count may cause spontaneous bleeding
    of the gums or nose .
  • Anemia
  • A low number of red blood cells means fewer cells
    are available to carry oxygen to all parts of
    the body. This is called anemia. Anemia causes

  • 4.4. Increased risk of second cancer
  • Some studies have shown that people with hairy
    cell leukemia are at increased risk of
    developing a second type of cancer. It is unclear
    whether this risk is due to the effect of hairy
    cell leukemia on the body or whether the risk
    comes from the drugs used to treat hairy cell
  • The second cancers found in people treated for
    hairy cell leukemia include non-Hodgkin's
    lymphoma, among others.
  • Diagnosis
  • To diagnose Hairy Cell Leukemia, your doctor may
    recommend tests that include
  • Physical Examination
  • By feeling your spleen - an oval shaped organ on
    the left side of your upper abdomen - your
    doctor can determine if it is enlarged. A
    hypertrophy of the spleen can cause a feeling of
    fullness in your abdomen that makes it
    uncomfortable to eat.
  • Your doctor may also look for enlarged lymph
    nodes that may contain leukemia cells.
  • Blood tests
  • Your doctor uses blood tests, such as complete
    blood counts, to monitor the blood levels in
    your blood.
  • People with hairy cell leukemia have low levels
    of the three types of blood cells platelets,
    red blood cells and white blood cells. Another
    blood test called peripheral blood smear looks
    for hair cell leukemia cells in a sample of your
  • Biopsy of the bone marrow
  • During a bone marrow biopsy, a little part of
    bone marrow is removed from the hip area. This
    sample is used to look for ciliated cell leukemia
    cells and to monitor your healthy blood cells.

  • Treatment is not always necessary for people with
    hairy cell leukemia. Because this cancer advance
    to next stage very slowly and sometimes it will
    stop progressing, some people prefer to wait to
    treat their cancer only if it causes symptoms and
    signs. The majority of people with hairy cell
    leukemia should eventually be treated.
  • If your Hairy Cell Leukemia causes symptoms and
    signs, you may decide to seek treatment. There
    is no cure for Hairy Cell Leukemia. But the
    treatments are effective in putting hairy cell
    leukemia into remission for years.
  • Chemotherapy
  • Doctors consider chemotherapy to be the first
    line of treatment for hairy cell leukemia. The
    vast majority of people will experience partial
    or complete remission through the use of
  • Drugs used in Chemotherapy are
  • Cladribine
  • Treatment of hairy cell leukemia usually begins
    with cladribine. A continuous infusion of the
    drug will be given into a vein for several days.
  • Most people who receive cladribine experience a
    complete remission that can last several years.
    If your hairy cell leukemia comes back, you can
    get cladribine again. Side effects of cladribine
    may include fever and infection.
  • Pentostatin (Nipent)
  • Pentostatin causes remission rates similar to
    those of cladribine, but is administered
    according to a different schedule. People taking
    pentostatin receive infusions every two weeks
    for three to
  • six months. Side effects of this drug may include
    infection, fever, and nausea.
  • Biological Treatments
  • Biological therapy attempts to make cancer cells
    more recognizable to immune system of your body.
    Once your immune system identifies cancer cells
    as intruders, it can begin to destroy your

  • Currently, the role of interferon in the
    treatment of hairy cell leukemia is limited. You
    may receive interferon if you can not take
    chemotherapy or if the chemotherapy has not been
    working for you.
  • Most people experience partial remission with
    this treatment, which is taken for a year. Side
    effects include flu-like signs, such as fatigue
    and fever.
  • 6.2.2. Rituximab (Rituxan)
  • Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody registered to
    treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and
    non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, although it is sometimes
    used in hairy cell leukemia.
  • If you cannot take chemotherapy or if the
    chemotherapy drugs did not work for you, your
    doctor might consider rituximab. Side effects of
    rituximab include infection and fever.
  • 6.3. Surgery
  • Surgery to remove your spleen (splenectomy) could
    be an option if it is enlarged and cause pain or
    if your spleen breaks. Although
  • elimination of the spleen can not cure hairy cell
    leukemia, a surgery can usually help to restore
    normal blood counts.
  • Splenectomy is not commonly used to treat hairy
    cell leukemia, but may be useful in some
    situations. Any procedure carries a risk of
    bleeding and infection.
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Some people with cancer find that alternative and
    complementary treatments can help them cope with
    the side effects of cancer treatment.
  • Alternative and complementary medicine cannot
    cure your hairy cell leukemia, but it can offer
    helpful ways to cope after and during treatment.
    Talk to your doctor if you are interested in
  • Acupuncture
  • A practitioner inserts tiny needles into your
    skin at specific points during an acupuncture
    session. Acupuncture can help relieve the
    vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy.
  • Acupuncture can be safe when done by a
    experienced practitionr. You can ask your doctor
    who may be able to recommend a practitioner in
    your community.

Acupuncture is not safe if you are taking blood
thinners or if you have low blood counts. 7.2.
Aromatherapy Here we use oils that give off
pleasant scents, such as lavender. The oils can
be massaged into your skin, added to the bath
water or heated to release their
odors. Aromatherapy can help relieve stress. This
method is safe, but oils applied to your skin can
cause allergic reactions, so check the
ingredients first.
7.3. Massage A massage therapist uses his hands
to knead your soft tissues and muscles. Massage
can help relieve fatigue and anxiety. Many
cancer centers have massage therapists who work
with people with cancer. People with cancer
should not receive massage if they have low blood
counts. Ask the massage therapist to avoid using
deep pressure. A massage should not hurt, so talk
if you feel pain during a massage.
  • 7.4. Body-Mind Therapies
  • Mind-body therapies can help you relax and they
    can help reduce pain. Mind-body therapies
    include relaxation and meditation techniques.
  • Mind-body therapies are generally safe and
    advisable. A therapist can guide you the best
    suitable therapies or you can do them yourself.
  • Support
  • Doctors consider Hairy Cell Leukemia to be a
    chronic form of cancer because it never
    completely disappears. Even if you get a
    remission, you will probably need follow-up
    visits with your doctor to monitor your blood
    count and your cancer.
  • Knowing that your cancer could come back at any
    time can be stressful. You might consider
  • Learn enough to feel comfortable making decisions
    about your care or treatment

Learn about your disease and its treatment to
make you feel more comfortable making decisions
about your treatment.
  • Having a better idea of life after? from
    treatment and what to expect treatment can make
    you feel more in control of your disease. Ask
    your doctor or other health adviser for reliable
    sources of information to help you get started.
  • Connect With Other Cancer Survivors
  • Although family and friends provide an important
    support network during your cancer experience,
    they can not always understand what it is like to
    face this chronic disease. Other cancer
    survivors provide a unique support network.
  • Ask your doctor or health advisor which support
    organizations or groups in your surroundings can
    put you in contact with other cancer survivors.
    Organizations such as the Leukemia Lymphoma
    Society and the American Cancer Society offer
    online discussion forums.
  • Take Care Of Yourself
  • You cannot control if your hairy cell leukemia is
    coming back, but you can control other aspects
    of your health.
  • Take care of yourself by eating a balanced diet
    with lots of vegetables and fruits and
    exercising regularly. A healthy body can more
    easily repel infections, and if you still need to
    be treated for
  • Cancer, you will be better able to cope with the
    side effects of the treatment.
  • 9. Prepare Your Appointment
  • You will probably start by first consulting your
    doctor. If your doctor suspects that you may
    have hairy cell leukemia, he may refer to a
    doctor who treats bone marrow and blood related
    diseases (hematologist).

Because appointments can be brief, and because
there is often a lot of ground to cover, it's a
good idea to be prepared. Here is some
information to help you get ready and know what
to expect from your doctor.
9.1. What you can do Be aware of the
restrictions before the appointment. By the time
you make an appointment, try to ask anything you
need to do in advance, such as diet restriction.
Note down all the Signs you are experiencing,
including those that may seem unrelated to the
reason you planned the appointment. Write down
the key personal information, including recent
life changes or major constraints. Make a list
of all the supplements, medications or vitamins
you are taking. Consider taking a friend or
family member along. Sometimes it can be
difficult to remember all the information
provided during an appointment. Someone
accompanying you may remember something you
forgot or missed about. Write questions to ask
your doctor. Your time with your doctor is less,
so a list of questions can help you make the most
of your time together. List your questions from
most important to least important in case the
time is up. For hairy cell leukemia, some basic
questions to ask your doctor include
What types of tests do I need? Will I need
treatment for my hairy cell leukemia? If I do not
have treatment, will my leukemia get worse? If I
need treatment, what are my options? Will the
treatment cure my Hairy Cell Leukemia? What are
the side complications of each treatment option?
Is there a treatment that seems the best for
me? How my daily life will be changed because of
cancer treatment? I have these other health
problems. How can I better manage them together?
Are there any other things in diet and excercise
I have to follow? Do I have to see a specialist?
How much should I pay, and will my insurance
cover it? Are there printed materials or other
brochures that I can take with me? Which websites
do you recommend?
In addition to the questions you have asked your
doctor, do not hesitate to ask more questions
during your appointment. 10. What To Expect From
Your Doctor Your doctor is likely to ask you a
number of questions. Being prepared to answer
them may allow you to cover other points later
that you want to address. Your doctor may ask
some of these questions
When did you start experiencing symptoms for the
first time? Have your signs been occasional or
continuous? How serious are your symptoms? What
seems to improve your symptoms? What seems to
make your symptoms worse?
  • 11. Survival Rate Survival depends on many
    factors, so there is no exact measure to say how
    long you will live. It depends on your fitness
    level, individual condition and treatment.
  • Statistics for this type of leukemia are more
    difficult to estimate than for other more common
    leukemias. Some statistics must be based on a
    small number of people.
  • Remember, they cannot tell you what will happen
    in your individual case. Your doctor has more
    information about your own prospects (prognosis).
  • 11.1. Survival Statistics for Hairy Cell Leukemia
    These days, doctors believe that most people
    with hairy cell leukemia can expect to have a
    normal lifespan. For detailed
  • information, you will need to talk to your own
    specialist. Generally for people with hairy
  • cell leukemia Approximately 90 out of 100
    (90) will survive their leukemia for 5 years or
    more after being diagnosed
  • Hairy cell leukemia usually develops slowly and
    can be kept under control for many years with
    treatment. You can hear these periods called
    remission. This is the period where the disease
    is not active. You have no symptoms and this does
    not appear in your blood
  • samples. It may be possible to obtain a second
    remission with more treatment if hairy cell

  • leukemia returns (relapses). A UK study
    published in 2005 examined patients with hairy
    cell leukemia and their relapse rate and response
    to treatment. The researchers found that
  • 5 years after diagnosis, hairy cell leukemia has
    returned to about 24 to 33 people out of 100 (24
    to 33) Ten years after diagnosis, hairy cell
    leukemia has returned to
  • approximately 42 to 48 people out of 100 (42 to
    48) If your leukemia returns after
  • treatment, your doctor will give you a different
    treatment or the same treatment as before. The
    choice depends on the duration of your remission.
    If you have had a long remission, it is worth it
    to repeat the same treatment. If the remission
    was shorter, your specialist is more likely to
    want to try a different treatment.

11.2. What Affects Survival Having a very low
number of red blood cells (hemaglobin), platelet
counts or white blood cell count (neutrophils)
can affect your prognosis. If you have swollen
lymph nodes in your belly (abdomen), this can
also affect your likely survival. Doctors call
this lymphadenopathy. People who have a complete
response to treatment do better than those who
have a partial response. In hairy cell leukemia,
a complete response is when all the signs of
leukemia have disappeared. A partial response
means that there are still abnormal leukemia
cells or other symptoms of leukemia.
11.3. Statistics The terms 1-year survival and
5-year survival do not mean that you will only
live for 1 or 5 years. They refer to the number
of people still alive 1 year or 5 years after
their cancer diagnosis. Some people live longer
periods than 5 years.