Making a Diagnosis

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
  • Biopsy.
(Click Leukemia Diagnosis for more information about diagnosing the condition.)

Stages of Leukemia

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:
  • The type of leukemia (see Types of Leukemia)
  • The patient's age
  • Whether leukemia cells are present in the cerebrospinal fluid
  • Whether the leukemia has been treated before
  • Certain features of the leukemia cells
  • The patient's symptoms and general health.
In general, treatment can include:
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.)
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Leukemia Information

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