Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia

Symptoms of hairy cell leukemia arise due to malignancy in blood, bone marrow and the lymph nodes which are the integral parts of the immune system of the body. This cancer comprises of nearly 2 percent of all leukemias and less than 2000 new cases of this disease are reported every year in the North America and Western Europe together.

The B cells are a type of white blood cells which protect the body from disease causing germs. Abnormal growth and accumulation of these cells is the characteristic of this type of cancer. Its cause is unknown and it has two forms namely; the classic and variant types. This article tries to gain further insight on the signs of this rare cancer.

Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia:

  • Abnormal count of lymphocytic white blood cells with hair-like projections from where the ailment derives its name
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Mildly swollen liver
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in abdomen
  • Easy bruising
  • Increased risk of severe infection
  • Swelling of Lymph node – It is a small, circular and very important organ of the natural protection system of the body called the immune system
  • Enlarged spleen – It is an important organ associated with the production and storage of the red blood cells
  • Reduced blood level of neutrophils – Cells of the immune system which help the healthy cells in the body to kill and digest external threats like micro-organisms through a process called phagocytosis
  • Reduced blood level of platelets – These are sticky substances present in blood which help in its clotting

A simple blood test can diagnose the symptoms of hairy cell leukemia. In 85 percent cases of this test, presence of hairy B cells is revealed. Bone marrow biopsy is followed by the blood test which confirms the condition. Association of any other complication is also detected from the test.

Early diagnosis of these symptoms is imperative as more than 95 percent patients are treated successfully, with the overall projected lifespan being almost normal for this cancer.

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