Diagnosis for Leukemia

The diagnosis for leukemia requires a lot of testing as well as physical examination. However, more often than not, doctors are able to find about leukemia from a person's routine blood test. An elevated white blood cell count usually indicates leukemia. Some of the tests for leukemia include:

  • A physical examination is one of the first tests the doctor performs. This is performed to check for any swelling in the lymph nodes, liver or the spleen.
  • Since leukemia affects blood cells, blood tests are performed to check the number of white blood cells you have. The blood tests may also indicate lowered levels of hemoglobin and platelets.
  • Once you get the blood tests, the doctor goes on to perform a biopsy. This is a test in which the doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the bone marrow to check for abnormalities and abnormal growths. To perform this biopsy, a local anesthesia may be used. Either bone marrow biopsy or bone marrow aspiration may be used to get a sample of the tissue.
  • Cytogenetics is an advanced test that can be performed to check the chromosomes of the affected person. Abnormal chromosomes can indicate the kind of leukemia a person is suffering from.
  • Another common test for diagnosis of leukemia is spinal tap. This is a test in which the doctor takes a small sample of the cerebrospinal fluid from the spine. This is a simple test that requires only local anesthesia. The fluid is then checked for leukemia cells. This is one of the quickest and simplest methods of getting a diagnosis.
  • Chest X rays may be performed to see swollen lymph nodes and any other signs of disease.