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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.

Doctors use your test results to check how far your leukaemia has developed. This is called staging. Most types of cancer have a numbered stage, from 1 to 4, but this is not really used for hairy cell leukaemia.

How doctors stage hairy cell leukaemia

Your doctor plans your treatment based on your symptoms, and your general health and fitness. 

To plan your treatment, doctors check if you have:

  • low red blood cell count (anaemia) 
  • low white blood cell count (neutropenia)
  • low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) 
  • an enlarged spleen 
  • swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
  • genetic changes (mutations)

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