Hairy Cell Leukemia, Project





Hairy Cell Leukemia, Project

The project is on Hairy Cell Leukemia and its goal is to find out how the condition occurs as well as its treatment. The condition is rare and occurs in about 2% of all the people with leukemia (Burthem & Cawley, 107). The hairy cell leukemia- variant is commonly found in populations within Europe, America and Japan. The methods used to put together this information for the project are case studies through online books, journals and medical websites. These materials have provided further insight about hairy cell leukemia as well as its manifestation in patients having that condition. The project has also been carried out at the student’s clinical site in trying to verify if a patient is suffering from this variant of leukemia. In summary, the project will provide more information about the condition as well as the diagnostic procedures and available treatment of hairy cell leukemia.

Hairy Cell Leukemia is a condition characterized by the appearance of abnormal B lymphocytes. Generally, hairy cell leukemia is a very uncommon hematological malignancy which is a sub- type of the chronic type of leukemia (McClatchey, 993). According to Freireich & Kantarjian, (31), the Chronic lymphocytic leukemia which hairy cell leukemia comes from is a more aggressive variant of the disease and is difficult to treat unlike hairy cell leukemia. The hairy cell leukemia symptoms manifest through higher white blood cell counts. Moreover, the bone marrow hairy cells lack the proper amount of fibronectin which is produced by the white blood cells. Hairy cell leukemia is also seen to present when the malignant B lymphocytes accumulate in the bone marrow (Faderl & Kantarjian, 345). These ‘hairy cells’ interfere with the normal production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Hairy cell leukemia is diagnosed through routine blood counts whereby one type of blood cells show low or higher numbers more than other blood cells (Handin, Lux & Stossel, 819). The cause of hairy cell leukemia is still unknown.

Hairy cell leukemia is treatable in several ways. At times, not every patient needs treatment because the levels of red blood cells or white blood cells are at manageable levels. When the levels are too low, treatment may be given in form of drugs and therapy for some cases. There is a single drug treatment which is administered to a patient at a time. In other occasions, there is a combination therapy of drugs where a patient is given two or more drugs a time. In other cases a patient is given therapy in two phases, namely; chemotherapy and immunotherapy. These are given if the condition is severe. The other treatment option is a bone-marrow transplant which is the most effective treatment (Freireich & Kantarjian, 83). However, the procedure presents inherent risks, hence is shunned and not recommended for many patients.

The testing of hairy cell leukemia is done at the clinical site using a blood machine whereby a blood sample is taken from a person and tested under a machine to check the blood cell count to know whether the person has leukemia. More tests are also carried out to verify the condition. Hairy cell leukemia also needs follow up after treatment so as to monitor how the blood cell count is progressing. Hairy cell leukemia is uncommon and manifest in a very small percentage of the population. Moreover, the condition is manageable and treatment has been reported to be successful. Sometimes the condition is fatal but in few patients.

Works Cited

Burthem, John & Cawley John. Hairy Cell Leukemia, New York: Springer publishers. 1996. Print.

Faderl, Stefan & Kantarjian, Hagop. Leukemias: Principles and Practice of Therapy, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Publishers. 2011. Print.

Freireich, Emil & Kantarjian, Hagop. Leukemia: Advances in Research and Treatment, New York: Springer publishers. 1993. Print.

Handin, Robert, Lux, Samuel & Stossel, Thomas. Blood: Principles and Practice of Hematology, Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2003. Print.

McClatchey, Kenneth. Clinical laboratory medicine (electronic resource), Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2002. Print.