What is Hairy Cell Leukemia And How Can it Be Treated?
White blood cells are the protectors of the body; the lymphocytes are types of white blood cells that help to fight infections and germs. It is in the presence of lymphocytes that the body can fight infections and stays fit. However, if the lymphocytes start to reproduce and divide uncontrollably then they can cause problems in the body. One of the most deadly diseases that can be caused by lymphocytes is known as hairy cell leukemia.
Hairy cell leukemia is caused when the b cells or lymphocytes. In hairy cell leukemia, the b-cells tend to divide abnormally and do not perform their functions properly. When seen under a microscope, these lymphocytes look hairy and unhealthy. This disease is commonly found in middle-aged people and mostly men. Although the treatment can slow this disease down and lessen the symptoms as well, this disease can not be cured completely and that is why it is also called chronic disease. India is one of the countries where hairy cell leukemia can be treated at an affordable price. You can take the help of Medical Tourism Companies In India to find the right doctor and hospital to proceed with the treatment.
Here is everything you must know about the hairy cell leukemia-
What are the symptoms of hairy cell leukemia?
Generally speaking, in most patients hairy cell leukemia does not show any symptoms or signs. However, when the blood test is done it might reveal that a person is suffering from this condition. At times hairy cell leukemia displays some symptoms and conditions that are given below
- When a person has hairy cell leukemia, they generally feel tired and weak.
- A person with hairy cell leukemia experiences extreme weight loss and fatigue.
- When hairy cell leukemia happens the white blood cells get altered, therefore they are not able to fight the germs that attack the body, this results in frequent and recurrent infections in the body.
- A patient that has hairy cell leukemia experiences easy bruising and rashes on the body.
- A patient who has hairy cell leukemia generally feels fullness in the abdomen and might not be able to eat food properly.
- A person is more prone to allergic diseases.
- A patient who is going through this disease experiences a swollen spleen.
- There are chances that in hairy cell leukemia a person will also experience anaemia.
- If the above-mentioned signs are persistent then a patient should visit and consult a doctor immediately.
How can hairy cell leukemia be diagnosed?
The diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia involves 3 steps. If a person is experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms then must visit a doctor. At first, the doctor takes a blood test to see the blood flow and blood cell count in the patient’s body. After the result seems different from normal blood count, a bone marrow biopsy is carried out to check whether hairy cell membranes exist in the bone marrow or not. At last, a CT scan is done to check whether the lymph nodes and spleen are swollen or not. If the spleen is swollen then chances are that the patient will be diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia.
How can cell leukemia be treated?
There are three ways to treat hairy cell leukemia. If a patient goes through this disease it can be very dangerous and might cause many problems in the body like bleeding, low platelet count, infections etc. It is a fatal disease that needs to be controlled and that is why the treatment becomes very important. The first and the most useful way to treat hairy cell leukemia is by chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a drug-based treatment in which a drug is introduced to the patient’s body to kill the cancer cells and rehabilitate the body there are two types of chemotherapies – pentostatin and cladribine.
People who undergo cladribine receive continuous drug infusions or injections on a daily basis; these drug infusions are made through the veins for several days. It is used to minimise the symptoms of hairy cell leukemia, however, it does not promise to cure the disease completely.
Pentostatin is another type of chemotherapy in which drug infusion takes place every alternate week for about six months. There are several side effects to this type of chemotherapy. Patients who are treated with this type of chemotherapy might experience side effects like nausea, fever and mild infections.
The second way to cure hairy cell leukemia is through surgery. Splenectomy is performed if the spleen enlarges or erupts. In this case, the spleen is removed and the surgery is called Splenectomy. The surgery can not cure leukemia permanently but it might prove helpful in several other conditions related to it.
The third way to treat hairy cell leukemia is through Biological therapy. This is the treatment that is given to a patient who cannot take chemotherapy due to some reasons. In this type of treatment, the drugs of biological treatment are used to find and destroy the cancer cells.
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India is one of the best places to get treated for Hairy cell leukemia. The Hairy Cell Leukemia Treatment Cost in India varies and normally starts from 1,300 USD.