Hairy cell leukemia in one type of blood cancer where the bone marrow makes too many B cells. These B cells are abnormal cells and as a result the number of red cells and white blood cells are reduced in the blood.
This condition is more prevalent among men than women and occurs mostly in the middle aged and older adults.
Normally, children or teenagers do not get affected by hairy cell leukemia. There are very few symptoms of this condition and some people have no symptoms at all. The symptoms which can be associated with hairy cell leukemia are fatigue and weakness, easy bruising and recurring infections, weight loss, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen etc. and these symptoms may also be misinterpreted as symptoms of some other condition.
It has not yet been ascertained as to what causes leukemia, but there are certain factors that may increase the chances of a person getting hairy cell leukemia. These factors include a family history of blood cancers, people who work closely with x-ray and other such radiation machines, people who are exposed to chemicals used in agricultural and petroleum products and also Ashkenazi Jewish men.
To confirm whether it is hairy cell leukemia, the patient may be asked to undergo blood tests, a biopsy and in some cases a CT scan. Treatment is possible at any stage of hairy cell leukemia and there are certain drugs that are available for this. However, in spite of treatment this cancer never really goes away and the patient is advised to have routine follow ups.
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