Hairy Cell Leukemia

Cause of Hairy Cell Leukemia

The cause of hairy cell leukemia is unknown. However, the condition usually affects older males.

Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia

Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells collect, people with hairy cell leukemia may have a number of symptoms, such as:
  • 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
  • Painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin.
These symptoms are not sure signs of hairy cell leukemia. An infection or another problem could also cause these symptoms. People with possible symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible because only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.

Diagnosing Hairy Cell Leukemia

Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect and diagnose hairy cell leukemia. These include:
  • Physical exam and medical history
  • Complete blood count
  • Peripheral blood smear
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Computed tomography scan.
Physical Exam and Medical History
A physical exam entails an exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as a swollen spleen, lumps, or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the person's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
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