Hairy Cell Leukaemia, HCL

Hairy Cell Leukaemia, HCL

                                                        Chris Woollams

This article has been compiled by Chris Woollams from worldwide research and expert sources*

Hairy Cell Leukaemia (HCL)

This must be read in conjunction with the whole of our general article on Leukaemia.


What is Hairy Cell Leukemia?

HCL is very rare, with less than 4 cases per 100 leukaemias. It is more commoin in men and between the ages of 40 and 60. In HCL one type of lymphocyte – the B-lymphocyte,  which has hair-like growths on its surface as seen under a microscope – is over produced. These cells slowly build up a presence in the spleen and it gets bigger. The bigger spleen may then draw red blood cells into it from the blood stream resulting in more enlargement and a greater imbalance in the blood.

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Typical symptoms are: low blood cell counts, frequent infections, bleeding/bruising, or fatigue. This cancer is often classed as a sub-type of CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Hairy Cell Leukemia Symptoms
Generally, the symptoms can include tiredness and chronic fatigue, frequent infections and/or pain below the ribs.  
Hairy Cell Leukemia Treatments

Until recently, HCL patients who were symptom-free did not usually receive any treatment other than careful monitoring for the disease, as the cancer is so slow growing. Signs doctors looked for included general signs of leukemia, numbers of hairy cells and healthy cells and infections.

Indeed, if the cancer has not caused problems in the first two years, oncologists expect the patient to live as long as the general population. 

However, some oncologists used to treat Leu almost all new cases with chemotherapy (for example: purine analogs or nucleosides), which may prolong remission and survival. The oncologist may recommend chemotherapy with the purine analog cladribine, or pentostatin. Approximately 80 per cent of patients go into remission after chemotherapy. Both drugs do however flatten the immune system, increasing the risk of infection.

If resistance occurs the doctor may occasionally switch to immunotherapy with interferon-alpha.

Where resistance has occurred the monoclonal drug Rituximab is often used although it is thought not to be as effective as cladribine or pentostatin. Sometimes they are used in combination. Vemurafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, or Ibrutinib, a B-cell inhibitor are also occasionally used.

You can read a ’Living Proof’ of someone who had a year’s treatment of Interferon by following this LINK.

The Doctor may very occasionally remove the patient’s spleen if it becomes extremely swollen.

Some younger patients develop a form of HCL, which is treatment resistant.

Building an Integrated Therapy Programme

Leukaemia is a whole-body disease and demands a whole body solution. There is no doubt that the Orthodox therapies do have their limitations, and no one is making any greater claims for Complementary or Alternative Therapies. What is important in Leukaemia is to build a programme of therapies that can give you the best chance of survival – the programme that can increase your personal odds of beating this disease in your own way.

In the main Leukaemia section you will find a thorough overview listing:

  • Information on the possible factors that might be maintaining your cancer so you can avoid them
  • Information on diets and supplements
  • Information on building beneficial bacteria and controlling yeasts and fungal infections that are so common with leukaemia
  • Information on diet therapies
  • Information on complementary therapies from exercise to acupuncture to massage and Reiki
  • Information on Alternative Therapies
  • Information on orthodox therapies and drugs

There is so much you can do to avoid being yet another statistic. Let’s look at the information on this Website.

Leukemia, Hairy Cell Leukemia and building an integrative programme

CANCERactive is Europe’s Number 1 Integrative Cancer Charity. This website alone has more than 4,000 pages of information on it, either as articles or as news stories. More than 10,000 people visit our websites every day. We know from the feed-back we receive just how much we are valued by people trying to beat cancer. 
We believe you can increase your personal odds of cancer survival by taking simple health-enhancing steps and adding both complementary cancer therapies and alternative cancer therapies into your mix of treatments. 
For example, Hyperbaric Oxygen, curcumin, calorie restriction, melatonin, probiotics and whole body hyperthermia have all been shown in research to make chemotherapy work better. It then kills more cells! The research is covered on this website. Surely it makes a lot of sense to use them in your personal cancer treatment programme?

Go to: How to improve your chemotherapy
We cover how to improve your radiotherapy (and reduce side-effects) too. 
Go to: Improve your Radiotherapy, and reduce side-effects
We have a complete review of Immunotherapy telling you the accurate figures and what to watch out for. We tell you what is working and when two new drugs have been used, rather than one. It’s a new, emerging and alternative cancer therapy, but not fully there yet!

Go to: A complete review of Immunotherapy  


Then we have an article on how to improve the success of your radiotherapy (and reduce the potential side-effects) – all by adding complementary therapies. Our Guidelines on Diet and Exercise can be found through this link:

Go to: CANCERactive Guidelines on Diet and exercise 

Our recommended anti-cancer diet is the colourful Mediterranean Diet (with its focus on the French paradox):  

Go to: The Rainbow Diet

Like Hippocrates, we believe all cancer begins in the gut and that gut problems, yeast, viral and parasite infections are common constituents of cancer.

Go to: All cancer begins in the gut

But if you just want to look at the most comprehensive list of Complementary Therapies you can find it here:

Go to: CANCERactive Complementary and Integrative cancer therapies

And if you want alternative cancer therapies start here:

Go to: CANCERactive Alternative cancer therapies 

Finally, if you want all this put together for you in one simple plan, why not look into having a Personal Prescription?

Go to: Personal Prescriptions with Chris Woollams

We don’t take one penny from any Pharmaceutical company, cancer clinic or supplements company. We have no vested interest. We just want to see you beat cancer. 

"If you are already thinking of supplementing with any of the above products, why not take a look at Our Natural Selection by clicking here."

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Confused by it all??

Well, we’re only trying to help you beat this disease. If you would like to have a Personal Prescription prepared for you, then click here

Go to: What people think of Personal Prescriptions

The CANCERactive Difference:   Intelligent Information. Independent Voice.





 *Cancer (and its related illnesses) are very serious and very individual diseases.  Readers must always consult directly with experts and specialists in the appropriate medical field before taking, or refraining from taking, any specific action.
This web site is intended to provide research-based information on cancer and its possible causes and therapies, so that you can make more informed decisions in consultation with those experts. Although our information comes from expert sources, and is most usually provided by Professors, scientists and Doctors, our easy-to-understand, jargon-free approach necessitates that journalists, not doctors, write the copy. For this reason, whilst the authors, management and staff of CANCERactive,
icon, and Health Issues have made every effort to ensure its accuracy, we assume no responsibility for any error, any omission or any consequences of an error or omission. Readers must consult directly with their personal specialists and advisors, and we cannot be held responsible for any action, or inaction, taken by readers as a result of information contained on this web site, or in any of our publications.  Any action taken or refrained from by a reader is taken entirely at the reader’s own instigation and, thus, own risk.

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