Hairy Cell Leukemia

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What Is Hairy Cell Leukemia?
The immune system is one of the most important systems of the body, and a large part of our immune system is regulated by white blood cells. These white blood cells, or leukocytes, are responsible for a number of functions in relation to immune system response. Without these white blood cells, the immune system would not be able to function normally. Leukemia is a broad definition applied to a number of different illnesses that affect the white blood cells within the human body.

Hairy cell leukemia, medically referred to as chronic lymphoid leukemia, is one of the rarest forms of the disease. In the United States and Europe, less than two thousand cases are diagnosed annually. It was dubbed its name because cancerous cells that develop appear as though they are hairy underneath a microscope. Hairy Cell Leukemia is recognizable by doctors because of its atypical appearance and abnormally large nuclei. The disease is most prevalent among middle aged men.

What Are the Symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia?
The major symptom that is associated with Hairy Cell Leukemia is a feeling of lethargy. Hairy Cell Leukemia attacks the white blood cells that are responsible for fighting off foreign toxins. It also attacks red blood cells that carry oxygen to all areas of the body. Since the individual's blood cells reproduce at an exceptionally slow rate and are unable to provide defenses against diseases, a person infected is likely to experience regular drowsiness, dizziness, or shortness of breath.

Other symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia include debilitating pain. This pain can be kept in check through the use of strong pain killers, and many doctors combine these drugs with chemotherapy treatments when treating Hairy Cell Leukemia in a hospital. A feeling of fullness in the abdomen is another symptom and is caused by an inflation of the spleen. Reoccurring infections are often symptomatic because of the drop in white blood cells. Bruising and bleeding are also common complaints of patients suffering from Hairy Cell Leukemia.

What Causes Hairy Cell Leukemia?
Hairy Cell Leukemia is caused by abnormalities in type B lymphocytes as a result of DNA defects replicated over time. Although there is no definitive cause of this disease, researchers speculate that certain prolonged, chemical exposures are to blame. Benzene is a highly toxic, flammable organic compound found in everyday, household items such as laundry detergents, cleaning solutions, glue, and paint. Prior to knowledge of its toxicity, it was commonly used as an additive agent in gasoline, and because of its pleasing, sweet smell, was a major ingredient in aftershave lotions. Hairy cell is considered an occupational disorder because is occurs most frequently in people who have been exposed to Benzene in their workplaces.

In order for one to be exposed to Benzene, inhalation of fumes or ingestion must occur. Likewise, prolonged exposure to the substance most often leads to critical side effects, whereas, short-term exposure poses less risks for developing diseases. Sometimes, if not properly disposed of, waste leakage occurs. As a result, groundwater can become contaminated with the substance, polluting drinking water, and making civilians susceptible to the harsh chemical.

What should I do if I suspect that my leukemia was the result of benzene exposure?
To a large extent, your next steps should be determined based on whether or not you were exposed to the chemical as a result of negligence or if exposure was not deliberate or unknown at the time. If you believe that either of these two scenarios is true, one then the best things you can do is to discuss the matter with a lawyer. A qualified attorney can help you receive financial compensation for your medical expenses. It is best to locate an attorney with experience handling these specific cases. Your attorney needs to review your medical records and comprehensive reports in detail. Therefore, it is important that, prior to consulting a lawyer, you gather these documents. Next, your attorney, based on medical records and employment history, can determine if your case is viable. Once a formal complaint is made, your attorney can arrange an investigation, and if claims are uncontested, you are likely to reach a settlement with relative ease. However, if an agreement is not reached, you have a right to seek justice through court proceedings. Your lawyer can take on these responsibilities and can help you understand legal litigation.