Leukaemia is the cancer of the blood cells. Leukaemia starts when healthy blood cells change and grow uncontrollably. Blood cells are formed in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the long bones in the body.
There are different types of blood cells –
- White blood cells that fight infection
- Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body
- Platelets help the blood to clot
Leukaemia is named after the specific blood cell that turns cancerous, which includes –
- Lymphoid cells – White blood cells are primarily found in the lymphoid tissues, like the spleen, lymph nodes, and tonsils.
- Myeloid cells – These are found in the bone marrow and develop into cells
About PLL and HCL
HCL and PLL are types of chronic B-cell leukaemia. B cells are a specific lymphocyte type that makes antibodies for our immune system.
In PLL, a high count of immature lymphocytes or prolymphocytes is seen in the blood. This type of leukaemia may occur together with CLL, or CLL can turn into PLL. PLL tends to get worse more quickly than CLL.
Along with this, HCL is a slow-growing form of leukaemia. It is called a “hairy cell” because the abnormal lymphocytes have hair-like projections when seen under a microscope. These cells multiply and so, they pile up in the bone marrow, spleen, and blood. And since these lymphocytes are abnormal, they don’t fight disease and infection. Eventually, these cells crowd out the normal healthy cells. Treatment is usually very effective for HCL.