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The first test you usually have is a blood test. A blood test can't diagnose hairy cell leukaemia. But it can pick abnormalities that need further testing.

Some people have no symptoms and are diagnosed with hairy cell leukamia after having blood tests for something else.

Your GP will refer you to a specialist (haematologist) for more tests. This usually includes a bone marrow test. You might also have an ultrasound scan or CT scan. You also have some of these tests during and after treatment for hairy cell leukaemia.

Blood tests for hairy cell leukaemia

Read about having blood tests to help diagnose hairy cell leukaemia. You also have regular blood tests during and after treatment.

Bone marrow test

You have a bone marrow test to confirm your diagnosis. You usually also have one after treatment, to check that there are no leukaemia cells (hairy cells) left in the bone marrow.

Ultrasound scan

Ultrasound scans use high frequency sound waves to create a picture of a part of the body. You might have one to see if your liver or spleen is bigger than normal.

CT scan

You might have a CT scan to see if your liver or spleen is bigger than normal, and to see if any of your lymph nodes are swollen (enlarged). Find out what a CT scan is and how you have it.

Last reviewed: 
02 Nov 2020
Next review due: 
02 Nov 2023
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