Leukemia - B-cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia and Hairy Cell Leukemia: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

People with HCL or PLL may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with HCL or PLL do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in PLL. In HCL, hairy cells build up more often in the spleen and bone marrow and may not cause noticeable lymph node swelling.
  • Tendency to bruise easily
  • Slow wound healing
  • Weight loss
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Persistent, unexplained abdominal pain on the left side, due to an enlarged spleen
  • Frequent infections

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If HCL or PLL is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.