Tests for hairy cell leukaemia

You usually start by seeing your GP if you have symptoms. Some people have no symptoms. They are diagnosed with hairy cell leukamia after having blood tests for something else.

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.

Your GP might refer you to a specialist (haematologist) for more tests. You might have one or more of these tests to diagnose hairy cell leukaemia and throughout treatment to see how it is working.

Blood tests for hairy cell leukaemia

You have a number of different blood tests to help diagnose hairy cell leukaemia. You have regular blood tests throughout treatment.

Bone marrow test for hairy cell leukaemia

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  left in your bone marrow.

Ultrasound scan for hairy cell leukaemia

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 for hairy cell leukaemia

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).

Last reviewed: 
21 Oct 2021
Next review due: 
21 Oct 2024
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