Stages of Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: An Introduction
Once adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia
(ALL) has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or to other parts of the body. The extent or spread of cancer is usually described in stages. It is important to know whether the leukemia
has spread outside the blood and bone marrow in order to plan adult ALL treatment
. Tests and procedures that may be used to determine if the leukemia has spread include:
- Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
- Lumbar puncture: A procedure used to collect cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal column by placing a needle into it. This procedure is also called an LP or spinal tap.
- Ultrasound: A procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs in the abdomen and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram.
- Computed tomography scan (CT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of the abdomen, taken from different angles. A computer linked to an x-ray machine makes the pictures. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computerized tomography or computerized axial tomography.