Hairy cell leukemia
Hairy cell leukemia is a slow growing leukemia. It is fairly rare with about 1000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. It is most common in older white males. It is a type of Chronic lymphoid leukemia. more...
Abnormal white blood cells bearing hair-like projections are seen on blood film examination, hence the name. Indicators include infection, anemia, and easy bleeding. Some of the leukemia cells may gather in the spleen and cause it to swell.
It is treated with a form of chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. The drug is administered by a pump worn by the patient that provides regular injections over a 7 day period. During the weeks following treatment the patient's immune system is severely weakened, but his bone marrow will begin to produce normal white blood cells again. Treatment often results in long-term remission. If the cancer cells return, the treatment may be repeated and should again result in remission.
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