Screening for hairy cell leukaemia | Cancer Research UK
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Screening for hairy cell leukaemia

Men and women discussing hairy cell leukaemia

This page is about screening for hairy cell leukaemia. You can find information about


What screening is

Screening means testing people for the early stages of a disease, before they show any signs of having it.

Before screening for any type of cancer can be carried out, doctors must have an accurate test to use. The test must be reliable in picking up cancers that are there. And it must not give a positive result in people who don’t have cancer.

The aim of screening is to diagnose cancer

  • At an early stage
  • Before symptoms start
  • When it is easier to treat
  • When it is more likely to be curable

Screening for hairy cell leukaemia

There is no screening programme for hairy cell leukaemia. If screening was to be introduced, the test would have to be simple, quick and not too expensive.

Leukaemia is not a common condition and hairy cell leukaemia is very rare. It is very expensive and not very cost effective to screen everyone for a rare disease. It would be more cost effective to screen people who are thought to be at higher risk. But first we must be sure we know who is definitely at higher risk. At the moment we don’t know of any high risk groups for hairy cell leukaemia.

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Updated: 31 March 2015