Leukemia Diagnosis

Other Tests Used to Diagnose Leukemia

Other tests that may be used to help diagnose leukemia or the type of leukemia include:
 
  • Cytogenetic -- The lab will look at the chromosomes of cells from samples of peripheral blood, bone marrow, or lymph nodes.
 
  • Spinal tap -- The doctor will remove some of the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that fills the spaces in and around the brain and spinal cord). The doctor will then use a long, thin needle to remove fluid from the spinal column. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is performed with local anesthesia. The patient must lie flat for several hours afterward to keep from getting a headache. The lab will check the fluid for leukemia cells or other signs of problems.
 
  • Immunophenotyping -- A test in which the cells in a sample of blood or bone marrow are examined under a microscope to determine if malignant (cancerous) lymphocytes began from the B lymphocytes or the T lymphocytes.
 
  • Chest x-ray -- The x-ray can reveal signs of disease in the chest.
 

After the Diagnosis: Leukemia Staging

After leukemia has been diagnosed, tests are conducted to find out how far the cancer has spread in the blood and bone marrow. This process is called staging. It is important to know the stage of leukemia in order to plan the best treatment.
 
(Click Stages of Leukemia for more information about leukemia staging.)
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Leukemia Information

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