What Is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia /small lymphocytic lymphoma is a cancer that occurs when the bone marrow and/or lymph nodes make too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. CLL/SLL usually grows slowly compared to other leukemias and lymphomas, and it may not cause symptoms for some time.
CLL is one of four main types of leukemia. Most people with CLL are middle-aged or older. The disease is very rare in children.
Normally, a person’s immature blood stem cells develop into myeloid and lymphoid stem cells. The myeloid cells become mature blood cells: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Lymphoid stem cells develop into three types of infection-fighting lymphocytes:
- B lymphocytes, which make antibodies to help protect the body from germs
- T lymphocytes, which can destroy virus-infected cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells
- Natural killer cells, which also can kill cancer cells and viruses.
In CLL/SLL, too many blood stem cells turn into abnormal lymphocytes. These cells do not function properly and they do not undergo normal removal from the blood stream. When the condition results primarily in a high number of circulating lymphocytes, it is referred to as CLL. Even in high numbers, they cannot fight infection as well as normal cells. As they pile up in the blood and bone marrow, they crowd out healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This can result in infection, anemia, and easy bleeding. CLL most often develops from B lymphocytes.
Help With The Cost Of Wigs
You might be eligible to receive a synthetic wig free of charge.
If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, synthetic wigs are available free of charge.
If you live in England, synthetic wigs are available for free on the NHS if you meet certain eligibility criteria. These include:
- your age
- being on a low income
- receiving certain financial support.
You can find out more about wigs and help with the costs on the NHS website. If you dont meet the criteria for a free wig, you might still be able to get a subsidised wig from your hospital. Ask your clinical nurse specialist or another member of your medical team for details.
If you buy a wig privately, you dont need to pay value added tax . This applies to anyone who has lost their hair because of cancer. Ask the company for a VAT exemption form when you buy the wig you cant claim it back at a later date.
You can find out more about wigs, including getting one through your health service or the NHS, on Cancer Research UKs website.
For children and young people up to the age of 24, Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs to those who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or other conditions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
CLL tends to grow slowly. Many people with CLL dont have any symptoms when its first found.
Common symptoms of CLL can include:
- Feeling very tired or weak
- Fevers with no clear cause
- Night sweats
- Enlarged lymph nodes, often felt as lumps beneath the skin
- Pain or fullness in the upper left belly from an enlarged spleen
- Losing weight without trying
- Bleeding and bruising easily
- Shortness of breath
Many of these may be caused by other more common health problems. But its important to see a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.
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How Quickly Will My Hair Grow Back
Hair loss after treatment is rarely permanent, but it might take a while to grow back.
Part of your hair is made of a protein called keratin. On average, hair grows at a rate of around 1cm or half an inch a month. However, after lymphoma treatment, you might have a temporary lack of keratin, which can weaken your hair and slow its growth. Once keratin levels return to normal, stronger hair can start to grow. How quickly your hair grows back depends on several factors, including the treatment type you’ve had, your individual response to it and your general health.
- After chemotherapy, hair follicles recover within a few weeks but it takes a bit longer before you can actually see new hair. Most people notice their hair growing back within 3 to 6 months of finishing chemotherapy, although it can take more or less time. Hair often grows back finer, straighter or curlier, or a different colour from how it used to be. Usually, in time, it returns to how it was before treatment. The change is permanent for a small number of people.
- After radiotherapy, it usually takes around 2 to 6 months for hair to grow back but it can take longer. Your hair might be curlier or a different texture than it was before treatment. In some cases, the hair loss can be permanent.
Radiotherapy And Hair Loss
Like in chemotherapy, cells with a rapid turnover rate, such as hair follicles, are more susceptible to the toxic effects of radiation therapy. As a result, alopecia is also common in people who receive radiotherapy to their head, such as those with certain types of lymphoma.
If the entire brain is being treated with radiotherapy, total hair loss will result. However, if just a targeted area of the brain is being treated, alopecia will only occur in a patch that is relative to the treatment field.
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The Effects Of Leukaemia Treatment Made Frances Feel That Her Body Was Alien To Her And Appeared
Has having this illness affected the way you feel about yourself as a woman – your femininity?
Hair loss was a visible sign of the illness so going out in public could be difficult to cope with. Claire felt that people were staring at her. Others preferred to hide themselves away at home. Some people said that their hair loss upset people around them more than themselves, and they wanted to hide their hair loss from loved ones at first. Claire’s youngest child didnt like to see her bald. By contrast, Joanna hadnt minded her husbands loss of facial hair as she had never liked it.
Hair Loss After Chemotherapy
Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Certain medicines have a very high risk of hair loss. Other medicines cause hair loss less often, or hair loss may be less noticeable. The timing and degree of hair loss depends on the type, dose, and schedule of chemotherapy.
Hair loss is often most visible on the scalp toward the front of the head where hair is not as thick. Some patients develop complete baldness. Other patients may have thinning hair or patchy hair loss. Because chemotherapy travels throughout the body, hair loss can also include eyebrows, eye lashes, and body hair.
For many patients, hair loss begins 2-4 weeks after the start of chemotherapy. Hair may fall out in clumps or thin gradually. After chemotherapy ends, hair will start to grow back. It may take 2-3 months before new hair growth is seen. Hair may be a different texture, especially at first. Some patients may have chemo curls where hair grows back curlier than before.
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You Have A Rash On Your Face Or Body
Lupus, like hypothyroidism or an iron deficiency, is an autoimmune disease with hair loss as a common symptom. Additionally, lupus can cause full-body rashes as a response to organs becoming inflamed, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Oftentimes, these rashes will come and go and are referred to as “flares.” Other lupus symptoms include dry eyes and joint pain, so if you notice any of these effects, you should see your doctor.
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What Are The Causes Of Leukemia
There are several causes of leukemia. All the causative agents ultimately lead to the damage or alteration of DNA. The probable causes are:
- Genetics: Family history, chromosomal abnormalities, etc.
- Other underlying blood disorders
How does leukemia kill?
The outcome of leukemia depends on the type of leukemia, the extent of the disease, age of the patient, and the general condition of the patient.
Patients with leukemia may ultimately die due to multiple infections , severe nutritional deficiencies, and failure of multiple organ systems. The patients can also face complications due to the leukemia treatment itself, which can sometimes be life-threatening.
Some patients can go into complete remission.
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What Are Treatment Side Effects
Cancer treatment can damage normal cells. This causes side effects like hair loss, mouth sores, skin changes, appetite loss, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Talk with your healthcare provider about side effects linked to your treatment. Be sure you know what to watch for. There are often ways to manage and even prevent side effects.
Who Is At Risk For Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of having a disease. The exact cause of someones cancer may not be known. But risk factors can make it more likely for a person to have cancer. Some risk factors may not be in your control. But others may be things you can change.
The risk factors for CLL include:
- Being exposed to the chemical Agent Orange during the Vietnam War
- Having a family history of CLL
- Being older in age
- Being a man
- Having Russian Jews or Eastern European Jews in your family history
Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for CLL and what you can do about them.
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Does Cancer Cause Hair Loss
It iswidely assumed that if you have cancer, you will eventually lose all your hair.But is cancer itself the hair-loss culprit? The answer is no.
Alopecia,or hair loss, occurs as a secondary result of chemotherapy and radiationtreatment. Both chemotherapy and radiation attack the rapidly growing cancercells in your body. The treatment may also attack other normal, fast-growingcells, like the cells in your hair roots.
Although many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, its a myth that all cancer patients receiving treatment will experience alopecia. The severity of your hair loss will vary depending on which medications youre taking, the drug dosage, and the frequency of treatment. While some patients experience only a mild thinning of hair, others may have more severe complications. Other types of treatment, such as radiation, will only cause hair loss on the area being treated.
Which Chemotherapy Drugs Cause Hair Loss
Your medical team will speak to you about your risk of hair loss before you begin treatment.
Lymphoma chemotherapy drugs that usually cause hair loss include:
- conditioning chemotherapy .
Hair loss is more common with intravenous chemotherapy. Whether or not you lose your hair also depends on the dose of your chemotherapy and how often you have it.
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Questions To Ask The Health Care Team
You may want to ask your cancer care team the following questions.
Is my specific cancer treatment plan likely to cause hair loss?
If so, when will my hair loss happen? Will I lose hair over time or all at once?
How should I care for my hair and scalp during hair loss?
When will my hair grow back? What can I expect when my hair does return?
Is there a counselor, oncology social worker, or other team member who can help me cope with hair loss?
Are there any programs that provide free or low-cost wigs or other head coverings?
What Kind Of Treatment Will I Need
AML often grows quickly, so its important to start treatment as soon as possible after it is found.
The most common treatment for AML is chemotherapy . Other treatments are used less often.
The treatment plan that is best for you will depend on:
- The type of AML
- The chance that a type of treatment will cure the leukemia or help in some way
- Your age and overall health
- If the AML cells have changes in certain genes
- Whether a matched stem cell donor can be found
- Your feelings about the treatment and the side effects that possibly come with it
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Preparing For Changes To Your Hair
Many people say that the possibility of losing their hair is one of their biggest worries about having treatment. Understandably, the thought of it can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.
Hair loss can be an important part of self-identify, so unwanted changes to it can significantly affect self-esteem and confidence. Its a visible side effect of treatment, and can make it obvious to other people that youre having treatment, including those you might not have chosen to tell. This loss of control and privacy can be very challenging to cope with.
Prepare yourself mentally keep in mind that youll come across people you know who dont recognise you anymore. I lost the hair on my head, as well as my eyelashes and eyebrows, which made me look very different. I found that tough to cope with, but I did get used to it after about a month, and my hair grew back very quickly. People did look but I just assumed that they were good-natured people and probably guessed that I was having chemotherapy and hoped that I was recovering OK.
Speak to your medical team for advice specific to your situation if your hair is likely to be affected, you might want to ask where from and how quickly you could expect it to grow back. Getting an idea of what to expect can help you to prepare for changes to your hair and give you time to consider what approach you might like to take.
Lymphoma Treatment And Hair Loss
Lymphoma treatment works on cells that divide rapidly, which includes lymphoma cells and hair cells this is why treatment can cause changes to your hair.
Not everyone who has treatment for lymphoma experiences changes to their hair. Whether youre affected or not depends on lots of factors, including: your treatment , your age, and your overall health, including any other conditions you might have.
Effects on your hair are usually short-term and can include:
- slight thinning
- changes in colour, which could include a streak or band of white hair
- changes in texture, such as hair being thinner, coarser or more curly than before treatment.
Mostly, hair eventually goes back to how it was before treatment for lymphoma.
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