What is Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL)?
Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL) is a type of blood cancer of lymphocytes cells (a type of blood cell), it is identified when white blood cells (B lymphocytes) change unusually. In HCL, the bone marrow produces excessive cells. Hairy cells are those damaged cells that are contrived by the bone marrow. Owing to the abundance in dangerous cells, there occurs shortness of healthy blood cells as well as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are affected in this course. Middle-aged and older age people are at more risk of developing HCL. Except for it, men are likely to affect more as compare to women.
Common Medical science has not identified the causes of Hairy Cell Leukemia yet. The cause of Hairy Cell Leukemia is not identified yet. Common symptoms include heavy sweating, especially during sleep at night, feeling over eaten even after eating in little amount fever and infections, feeling pain in the enlarged spleen (abdominal pain), fatigue, and weight loss.
Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia
Individuals with HCL must not feel that all the symptoms explained below signs may be different in different cases. If you think of any of the following symptoms, you are highly recommended visiting the doctor at your earliest. The general feeling of Hairy Cell Leukemia include weakness, fever, sweats during night sleep, weight loss, lumps in the neck and underarm, pain in the bone under the ribs, shortness of breath and frequent infections At the early stage, it is possible that signs and symptoms may not be understandable in some individuals.
Hairy cell leukemia develops gradually and slowly. Usually, it is diagnosed with when blood expresses either low or excessive kinds of healthy blood cells, or in extreme cases, it is diagnosed when recurrent infections or bruises accompany an individual. In HCL patients, platelet function may be inadequate, which may result in bruises, and bleeding time may increase for a minor cut. As in hairy cell leukemia, the bone marrow is assembled with the Hairy cell (malignant B lymphocytes), which interrupts the growth of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. As a result, individuals with low red blood cells may develop fatigue, individuals with small white blood cells are likely to develop anemia, and individuals with low platelet may come up with active bleeding due to minor cut.
Those patients whose spleen (splenomegaly) has enlarged due to high assembling of Hairy cells may feel pain in the abdomen as well as feel over full even after eating in little amount. In other cases, those individuals affected by HCL may have enlarged liver, they are inclined to sever frequent infections or bruising, but this condition takes place rarely.
Treatment of Hairy Cell Leukemia
Individuals with lighter symptoms are not given treatment at their earliest stage of the onset of HCL. However, if it interrupts individuals everyday life e at great extent, then it is treated significant concerns, or when white blood cells or platelets are worsened to low level at a risky point for instance if it declines one thousand cells per micro liter (1.0K/Ul) below, at this ratio patients are given treatment.
Fundamentally, there has been no standard time for the time duration of treatment that how long it exactly takes for a patient to recover. During a long procedure, it may create a problem if any severe infection gets worsen. Along with this increased number of hairy cells can cause side effects during treatment. It may cause a patient to need hospitalization. Treatment for Hairy Cell Leukemia has progressed remarkably over the years, which has treated successfully to a large number of people all over the world.
Combination therapy is going through the process of clinical trials but is given for obstinate cases. It consisted of one using one first-line treatment and one second-line treatment. Combination therapy may or may not be highly beneficial for the patient. It is accumulated with Rituximab with Cladribine or pentostatin, which is never used for new patients because monotherapy results in more success.
First-line therapy is thought to be the standard treatment given to the patients of Hairy Hairy Cell Leukemia. Most of the patients get either complete or partial reprieve from this method of treatment. This therapy is being used successfully used for 20 to 30 years.
Chemotherapy is considered to be First-Line Treatment to treat Hairy Cell Leukemia. Two chemotherapy drugs are used to treat HCL, which includes Cladribine (2CDA) and pentostatin (DCF) with generic name purine analogs. Cladribine (2CDA) is a kind of drug which is executed by injection under the skin or by vein. Depending on the condition of patients, doctors prescribe Cladribine once in a day for five to seven days, while some patients are given once in a week for six weeks. However, Various schedule of dosing is equally valid. Pentostatin is similar to Cladribine in terms of chemicals as well as with effective similarly. However, it is given over a more extended time, and commonly one dose is given every two weeks to 6 months. These drugs weaken the immune system of the patient, but it normalizes bone marrow to produce blood cells. As well as it often has side effects like loss of hair, fatigue, increased risk of infection and nausea, and sometimes maybe vomiting.
If Chemotherapy works well, there is no need for second-line therapy. Most of the patients are usually treated well with Chemotherapy, and there are rare cases if HCL goes restraint, then second-line treatments are offered.
Other possible treatments include Monoclonal antibodies that destroy cancerous B cells. Rituximab is used most of the time, which is consumed one infusion each week for continuously 4 to 8 weeks. The significant side effects of Rituximab likely to occur are serum sickness, which is defined as “allergic reaction,” which can be severe in some cases.
Other treatments of HCL include Splenectomy (an operation to remove the spleen), it is recommended for the patients whose spleen has enlarged and is causing discomfort and pain. Its success rate is comparably low with Cladribine or pentostatin. Doctors don’t often conduct this type of treatment; it is hardly recommended in case of severity.
Bone marrow transplants
Bone marrow transplants are abandoned as they are inherited. They are considered in cases where patient symptoms are resistant to treatment. Mini-transplants are a possible option.
At the moment, in clinical settings, interferon is not being used widely to treat HCL. After Chemotherapy doesn’t give you effective results, you may preferably use this method of treatment. Usually, it is prescribed to continue approximately for a year. It would create side effects like flu, fever, and fatigue.
What support can we give for Hairy Cell Leukemia?
Hairy Cell Leukemia is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. We provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from a rare cancer such as Hairy Cell Leukemia, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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