Certain factors may increase your risk of developing hairy cell leukemia. Not all research studies agree on what factors increase your risk of the disease.

Some research indicates that your risk of hairy cell leukemia increases based on your:

  • Exposure to radiation. People exposed to radiation, such as those who work around X-ray machines or those who received radiation treatment for cancer, may have a higher risk of developing hairy cell leukemia, but the evidence is inconclusive.
  • Exposure to chemicals. Industrial and agricultural chemicals could play a role in hairy cell leukemia development. However, some studies have found this not to be the case.
  • Exposure to sawdust. Some studies have found a link between working with wood and sawdust and an increased risk of hairy cell leukemia. But this connection hasn't been proved conclusively.
  • Ethnicity. Hairy cell leukemia affects men of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry more frequently than men of other ethnic groups.
March 17, 2015