If a person has possible leukemia symptoms, the doctor will need to perform a physical exam, ask about the patient's personal and family medical history, and order laboratory tests (especially blood tests).
Exams and tests that are used to make a diagnosis may include:
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
(Click Leukemia Diagnosis for more information about diagnosing the condition.)
After leukemia has been diagnosed, tests are done to determine how far the cancer has spread in the blood and bone marrow. Normally, this process is called staging; however, unlike most other forms of cancer, most types of this disease are not classified using a standard staging system. The progression of different types of leukemia is classified in different ways, and it's important to determine this classification before planning treatment.
(Click Stages of Leukemia for more information about how the different types are classified.)
Treatment for Leukemia
Treatment options vary based on the type of leukemia that a person has. Some factors that may influence the treatment include:
In general, treatment can include:
- Chemotherapy (see Leukemia Chemotherapy Treatment)
- Other drug therapy
- Biological therapy (see Biological Therapy for Leukemia)
- Radiation therapy (see Leukemia Radiation Therapy)
- High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant (see Stem Cell Transplantation and Leukemia)
- Donor lymphocyte infusion
Choosing the most appropriate cancer treatment is a decision that ideally involves the patient, the family, and the healthcare team.
(Click Leukemia Treatment for more information about treating this illness.)