Hairy Cell Leukaemia, HCL - symptoms, causes and treatment alternatives

Hairy Cell Leukaemia, HCL - symptoms, causes and treatment alternatives

Hairy Cell Leukaemia, or Hairy cell leukemia, or HCL is a very rare and slow-growing cancer, usually classified as a sub-division of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) because it is a blood cancer where the bone marrow makes too many B-lymphoctes, white blood cells that are part of the Adaptive immune system and usually help make antibodies to fight infection. 

This short overview on HCL should be read in conjunction with our Overview on Leukaema - symptoms types and treatment alternatives

You should also book mark our page - Leukaemia - Latest news, Latest Research.

What is Hairy Cell Leukemia?

HCL is a very rare blood cancer, and less than 2% of all leukemias. It is more common in men between the ages of 40 and 60. In HCL one type of lymphocyte – the B-lymphocyte,  which has hair-like growths on its surface when viewed under a microscope – is over produced. These cells slowly build up a presence in the spleen and the spleen 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.

Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia

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. Generally, the out ward symptoms can include tiredness and chronic fatigue, frequent infections and/or pain below the ribs.

Causes of Hairy Cell Leukemia

Diesel fumes, pesticides and herbicides do seem to be linked to HCL, as they are with leukemia in general. Other general environmental toxins for leukemia include mercury and aspartame. But infection may well be a cause as B-lyphocyte increase is a common occurence in infection. Have you checked for yeast or parasite infections?

We also know that leukemia in general is very determined to feed on sugar. In fact, there is research that shows it robs healthy neighbouring cells of their sugar and changes insulin status to keep more sugar in the blood. Oncologists at Care Oncology in London use Metformin to control blood sugar in leukemia - Berberine a natural herbal compound might be a better alternative.

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. 

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 treat Leu almost all new cases with chemotherapy using purine analogs or nucleosides, which may prolong remission and survival.

A typical chemotherapy involves perhaps 5 days of the purine analog Cladribine, or pentostatin. That's all. It is given intravenously, but since 2017 it has been available in pill form.  Approximately 80 per cent of patients go into remission after this chemotherapy. Both drugs do however flatten the immune system, lowering platelets and increasing the risk of infection. And so the oncologist will also prescribe antibiotics, anti-virals and usually omeprazole. 

However, the antibiotics and omeprazole greatly damage the microbiome which is a promoter of the Adaptive Immune system (the one that responds to attacks). And thus the patient is pushed into a downward immune spiral making matters worse. This is clearly not very clever.

But in the end, the bone marrow returns to normal production and patients come off the antibiotics, antiviral and omeprazole.

If resistance occurs the doctor may occasionally switch to immunotherapy with interferon-alpha but the modern alternative is the monoclonal drug Rituximab. However, this 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 is 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. A sign of problems in the spleen can be a fall in cholesterol levels.

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

Hairy Cell Leukemia and natural compounds

The disease occurs at a far lower rate in countries nearer the equator and scientists have observed that low vitamin D levels are associated with greater risk.

Other natural compounds with research on CLL include - Fucoidan, Feverfew, Honokiol, Dandelion Root, EGCG from green tea, Grape seed extract, Chlorella and Selenium. There is specific research that turmeric and green tea can fight B-lyphocyte issues.

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 off-label drug 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 personal 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 and reduce side-effects

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

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