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The stage of a leukaemia means how much it has developed. There is no widely agreed staging system for hairy cell leukaemia.

Once your doctor has all your test results, they will know more about how far your leukaemia has developed. Most types of cancer have a numbered stage, from 1 to 4, but this is not really used for hairy cell leukaemia.

Your doctor plans your treatment based on any symptoms you have, and your general health and fitness. They generally use 2 symptoms as a way of measuring how far hairy cell leukaemia has developed. These are:

  • your level of anaemia (your red blood cell count)
  • the size of your spleen

If you're looking for information about staging for other types of chronic leukaemia, go to:

Last reviewed: 
16 Apr 2015
  • Hairy cell leukaemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
    T Robak and others on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Committee
    Annals of Oncology, 2015. Volume 26, Supplement 5

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