Diagnostic tools used to detect leukemia
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
What diagnostic tools could have been used to detect leukemia?
Selina M. Luger, MD, Director of the Leukemia Program and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
We usually investigate a patient for leukemia when there is an abnormality in the numbers or subtypes of blood counts. In order to evaluate these abnormalities, we can look at the blood cells under the microscope and if necessary do a bone marrow test. The bone marrow is essentially the manufacturing plant of blood cells; so we can look at see if the cells are being made properly or not. In the case of acute leukemia's, we see a high percentage of immature cells or blasts in the bone marrow. In the case of chronic leukemia's, we see too many mature cells. We can do special test on the bone marrow cells that tell us more about these cells.
Sometimes leukemia can also have different manifestations, because the leukemia cells can sometimes involve other places like the skin. Sometimes test on these cells will tell us there is an abnormal type of blood cell present and then we would do a bone marrow test again to see if we can find leukemia.
OncoLink is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through OncoLink should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem or have questions or concerns about the medication that you have been prescribed, you should consult your health care provider.
Information Provided By: www.oncolink.org | © 2016 Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania