Hairy cell leukemia HCL is a rare type of blood cancer characterized by abnormal changes in white blood cells known as B lymphocytes. The bone marrow creates too many of these defective cells, known as "hairy cells" because of the thin hair-like projections found on their surface. Overproduction and accumulation of hairy cells causes a deficiency of normal blood cells pancytopenia , including an abnormal decrease of certain white blood cells neutrophils [neutropenia] and certain red blood cells platelets [thrombocytopenia]. The exact cause of hairy cell leukemia is not known. Onset of hairy cell leukemia is usually gradual. In addition, affected individuals may experience abdominal pain and a feeling of abdominal fullness due to an abnormally enlarged spleen splenomegaly.
Jump to navigation. However there are some factors that we know affect how likely you are to develop HCL:. The most common symptoms of HCL include tiredness, weakness, breathing problems, palpitations, bruising and bleeding, stomach discomfort and frequent infections. Most people will have some symptoms before they're diagnosed but as HCL develops slowly, others may never notice symptoms and will be diagnosed by chance. If your doctor thinks you might have HCL you'll have blood tests and bone marrow tests. Because HCL is a slow-developing type of leukaemia, you might not need treatment straight away. When you do need treatment, this is likely to be chemotherapy.
Hairy cell leukemia HCL is an uncommon type of lymphocytic leukemia that starts in B cells, or B lymphocytes a type of white blood cell. It is called hairy cell leukemia because hair-like projections can be seen on the surface of the cancer cells when they are viewed under a microscope. It is more common in men than in women.
Hairy cell leukemia cells, which appear as the darker cells in this photo, are surrounded by a halo of fine projections villi. To diagnose hairy cell leukemia, your doctor may take a sample of bone marrow from your body and examine it under a microscope to look for hairy cells. Hairy cell leukemia is a rare, slow-growing cancer of the blood in which your bone marrow makes too many B cells lymphocytes , a type of white blood cell that fights infection.