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Hairy Cell Leukemia

The information in this section about hairy cell leukemia can help you talk with members of your healthcare team and take an active role in your treatment. Knowing what to expect and being able to make informed decisions about your cancer treatment are important aspects of coping with your disease. You can skim sections to find what you want to read now - and continue reading whenever you're ready for more information.

What You Should Know

  • Hairy cell leukemia is a type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Hematologists and oncologists are specialists who treat people who have hairy cell leukemia or other types of blood cancer.
  • The drug cladribine is the initial treatment for most people who have hairy cell leukemia.
  • The 5-year event-free survival rate after treatment is approximately 90 percent of patients initially treated with cladribine. The advent of cladribine therapy has resulted in approximately a 90 to 92 percent rate of complete remission and approximately 6 to 8 percent rate of partial response.

What You Should Do

  • Ask your doctor whether a clinical trial is a good treatment option for you.
  • Talk with your doctor about your diagnostic tests and what the results mean.
  • Talk with your doctor about all your treatment options and the results you can expect from treatment.

What Is Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Hairy cell leukemia is a type of slow-growing blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow. The disease is a form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Many people with hairy cell leukemia live good-quality lives for years with medical care.

Source: Hairy Cell Leukemia; Williams Hematology, 8e, Chapter 95

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last updated on Wednesday, March 06, 2013
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