Stages of Leukemia
Unlike most types of cancer, there are no stages of leukemia used to describe the progression of most types of the disease; chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the only common type of leukemia for which a standard staging system is used. However, there are other ways of classifying these forms of leukemia. Even if stages of leukemia are not used to express the extent of the cancer, it's still important to know how the disease has progressed in order to plan treatment.
After leukemia has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out how far the cancer has spread in the blood and bone marrow. For most types of cancer, this process is called staging. However, leukemia is different from many other types of cancer in that there is no staging system for many types of leukemia. This article will explain how the most common types of leukemia are classified.
There is no standard staging system used for adult or childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). For adults, ALL is classified as untreated, in remission, or recurrent. For childhood ALL, risk groups are used instead of stages to describe cases of the disease. Risk groups for childhood ALL include:
- Standard (low) risk
- High risk
(Click Risk Groups of Childhood ALL for more information.)
There is no standard staging system used for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In AML, the subtype of AML and whether the leukemia has spread outside the blood and bone marrow will determine treatment.