Risk Factors for B-cell Prolymphocytic and Hairy Cell Leukemia

A risk factor can be anything that influences the development of any cancer. But having a risk factor, or many does not give certainty of having particular cancer. Some people with no risk factors can also develop cancer. 

In general, leukaemia can sometimes be caused by a genetic mutation. These can be changes that are passed from generation to generation within a family. Or, environmental factors can cause these changes, like smoking or exposure to certain chemicals or radiation. However, most often, the cause of leukaemia is not known.

The following factors may increase a person’s risk of developing PLL or HCL –

  • Age – HCL occurs most often in people between ages 40 and 70.
  • Gender- Men are five times more likely to develop HCL than women.

Race/Ethnicity – HCL is more common in Ashkenazi Jewish men specifically and white people in general. PLL and HCL are rare in people of Southeast Asian or Japanese descent.