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Cancer Health Center

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Hairy Cell Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Stages of Hairy Cell Leukemia

There is no standard staging system for hairy cell leukemia.

Staging is the process used to find out how far the cancer has spread. Groups are used in place of stages for hairy cell leukemia. The disease is grouped as untreated, progressive, or refractory.

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Untreated hairy cell leukemia

The hairy cell leukemia is newly diagnosed and has not been treated except to relieve signs or symptoms such as weight loss and infections. In untreated hairy cell leukemia, some or all of the following conditions occur:

  • Hairy (leukemia) cells are found in the blood and bone marrow.
  • The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets may be lower than normal.
  • The spleen may be larger than normal.

Progressive hairy cell leukemia

In progressive hairy cell leukemia, the leukemia has been treated with either chemotherapy or splenectomy (removal of the spleen) and one or both of the following conditions occur:

  • There is an increase in the number of hairy cells in the blood or bone marrow.
  • The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets in the blood is lower than normal.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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