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

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with HCL or PLL may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with HCL or PLL do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not leukemia.

  • 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.

  • Bruising easily

  • Slow wound healing

  • Decreased appetite and feeling full quickly

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Unexplained fatigue

  • Persistent, unexplained abdominal pain on the left side from an enlarged spleen

  • Frequent infections

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Night sweats

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, 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 figure 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 the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in the guide.