Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count (CBC) is a procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the:
- Number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets
- Amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells
- Portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells.
A cytogenetic analysis is a test in which cells in a sample of blood or bone marrow are viewed under a microscope to look for changes in the structure or number of chromosomes in the lymphocytes.
Immunophenotyping is a test in which the cells in a sample of blood or bone marrow are looked at under a microscope to find out if malignant lymphocytes (cancer) began from the B lymphocytes or the T lymphocytes.
Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy involves the removal of a small piece of bone and bone marrow by inserting a needle into the hipbone or breastbone. A pathologist will then view both the bone and bone marrow samples under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.
After the doctor diagnoses chronic lymphocytic leukemia, it's then necessary to determine how far the cancer has spread in the blood and bone marrow. This process is known as staging. It is important to know the stage of CLL in order to plan the best treatment.
The stages of chronic lymphocytic leukemia include:
- Stage 0
- Stage I
- Stage II
- Stage III
- Stage IV