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The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Leukemia Staging

Staging, a process used to determine how far the cancer has spread, is used only for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). For this disease, many doctors use the Rai system. The Rai stages can be separated into low, intermediate and high-risk categories:

Low-Risk CLL

  • High lymphocyte count in the blood and the marrow.

Intermediate-Risk CLL

  • High lymphocyte count in the blood and the marrow
  • Enlarged (swollen) lymph nodes
    or
  • High lymphocyte count in the blood and the marrow
  • Enlarged (swollen) lymph nodes, liver or spleen.

High-Risk CLL

  • High lymphocyte count in the blood and the marrow
  • Anemia (low red cell count)
    or
  • High lymphocyte count in the blood and the marrow
  • A low platelet count