Hairy cell leukemia digital illustration

Hairy cell leukemia Save

ICD-10 code: C91.4

Chapter: Neoplasms

Hairy Cell Leukemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Hairy cell leukemia is a rare type of blood cancer that affects the white blood cells called B-lymphocytes. These cells are responsible for fighting infections and diseases in the body. In hairy cell leukemia, the B-lymphocytes become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, leading to a decrease in the number of healthy white blood cells in the body.

The exact cause of hairy cell leukemia is unknown, but certain factors may increase the risk of developing this condition. These include exposure to certain chemicals and radiation, as well as having a family history of the disease.

Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia

The symptoms of hairy cell leukemia may vary from person to person. Some patients may not experience any symptoms at all, while others may experience one or more of the following:

  1. Weakness and fatigue
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Unexplained weight loss
  4. Fever and night sweats
  5. Frequent infections
  6. Pain or fullness in the abdomen

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment for Hairy Cell Leukemia

Treatment for hairy cell leukemia may depend on the severity of the condition and the patient's overall health. Some treatment options may include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Surgery to remove the spleen
  • Bone marrow transplant

It is important to note that not all patients with hairy cell leukemia require treatment. Some patients may only require regular monitoring to ensure that the condition does not worsen.


If you have been diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia, it is important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs. With proper treatment and monitoring, many patients are able to manage their condition and live full, healthy lives.