Leukemia is an incredibly difficult medical condition to live with as it is one of the most common forms of cancer. There are several different types of leukemia that may be experienced by children, teens, and adults each of them are equally dangerous. There are two main groups of leukemia known as acute leukemia and chronic leukemia. Acute leukemia can develop incredibly quickly whereas the chronic types develop over months or years without any indication of it being in the human body. Hairy Cell Leukemia is known as an incredibly rare type of chronic leukemia.
Hairy Cell Leukemia Statistics
1. There are over 52,380 people in the United States alone that are affected by leukemia, 30,100 men and 22,280 women.
2. Considering that Hairy Cell Leukemia is so rare, it only accounts for approximately 2% of all of the leukemia diagnoses in the country.
3. Many people rely on clinical trials to find different methods of treatment for HCL.
4. Hairy Cell Leukemia is a slow growing cancer that affects the blood of a human and begins in the bone marrow.
5. The majority of people who receive a HCL diagnosis live a relatively normal and high quality life once they have received their diagnosis.
6. The first method of treatment for patients with HCL is a drug called cladribine.
7. The two main specialists that you will work with for treating your HCL are oncologists and hematologists.
8. The two main symptoms that may lead to the diagnosis of HCL are a decrease in blood cells and an enlarged spleen.
9. In some cases, individuals may not require treatment right after their diagnosis and may wait until symptoms begin to present themselves.
10. The transplantation of allogeneic stem cells could be another method of treatment for HCL patients.
11. There is the possibility to determine whether a patient may be likely to experience a relapse after they have gone into remission.
12. The median age for a HCL diagnosis is 52 years of age.
13. The hairy cells from HCL are generally found mostly in the spleen, the liver, and the bone marrow.
The first question that is always asked when a family member is diagnosed with cancer pertains to the amount of time that they still have left. You should always feel comfortable to speak with your doctor about your prognosis as they will generally have all of the specific information required to give you an accurate length of time. Although this information can sometimes be inaccurate. The majority of people who are affected by Hairy Cell Leukemia live for over 5 years past the date of their diagnosis. Considering that this type of leukemia is chronic, your doctor may even discuss your potential for 10 year survival after your diagnosis.
Hairy Cell Leukemia Outlook
The overall outcome of your HCL will depend on a numerous amount of factors including how well the cancer responds to your treatment and how advanced the HCL is when you are first diagnosed. The majority of doctors in the world assume that more patients with HCL can live a normal length of life. Since this is a condition that generally develops at an incredibly slow pace, it can be remedied and kept under control with an appropriate amount of treatment. There have also been numerous cases where patients have patients have gone into remission.
Since HCL is such a rare form of cancer, finding reliable statistics is relatively difficult. The reason for this is because since there are such a small number of infected patients, there is a significantly smaller group of people to study. With that being said, approximately 96 out of 100 people (96%) of patients with HCL live over 10 years after they are diagnosed.
Remission and Relapses
As previously mentioned, there is a significantly large amount of patients who enter remission once they are diagnosed with HCL. Remission is essentially when the disease is inactive within the body, therefore it is not doing any damage. Unfortunately, patients may also experience what is known as a relapse which is when the disease comes back. In the event of this occurrence, patients will require more (and generally more intense) methods of treatment. After 5 years once a person is diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia approximately 24% to 33% of them will experience a relapse. After 10 years from their diagnosis, 42% to 48% will experience a recurrence of their HCL. If you have the unfortunate event of your HCL coming back after you have received treatment your doctor will prescribe another treatment for you. The intensity of the treatment will depend on the length of your remission, whether you want to try going through another method of treatment, or if your first treatment was beneficial enough to put you into remission.