Staging and prognosis for CLL
These tests are often used by doctors to work out how far the chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) has progressed. This is known as staging and it helps determine a person’s prognosis (outlook) and guide treatment.
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There are two staging systems commonly used for CLL: the Binet system and the Rai system. In Australia, most doctors use the Binet system.
Binet staging system
|stage A||There are a high number of white blood cells but fewer than three enlarged areas of lymph tissue (lymph nodes, liver and/or spleen).|
|stage B||There are a high number of white blood cells and three or more enlarged areas of lymph tissue.|
|stage C||There are a high number of white blood cells with a low number of red blood cells (anaemia) and/or platelets (thrombocytopenia), and enlarged lymph nodes or spleen.|
Rai staging system
The Rai system divides CLL into five stages and separates these stages into low-risk, intermediate-risk and high-risk groups. It is used mainly in the United States.
Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. You will need to discuss your prognosis with your doctor, who will be able to give you an indication of what stage leukaemia you have.
It is not possible for any doctor to know the exact course of your disease. However, your doctor might be able to tell you whether any of your test results, particularly the genetic or chromosomal tests, can help predict how the CLL may respond to particular forms of treatment.
While CLL is not generally a curable disease, the outlook for people with CLL is improving constantly. For many people, CLL progresses slowly, treatment is never required and they live a normal life span. For others, CLL progresses more quickly, but treatment controls the CLL and allows them to have a good quality of life for many years.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Kate Melville, Haematology Staff Specialist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Lecturer, The University of Newcastle; Karl Jobburn, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Haematology, Liverpool Hospital; Patricia Masters, Consumer; Karen Robinson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Dr Emma Verner, Staff Specialist, Haematology, and Medical Director, Bone Marrow Transplant and Apheresis Unit, Concord Hospital, and Clinical Senior Lecturer, The University of Sydney.
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