For a medical expert to accurately diagnose leukemia, you will likely need to undergo a combination of tests, including a physical exam and blood work.
Read on to learn what exactly is involved in leukemia testing, what its like, and what the results may mean for your overall health.
In some cases, leukemia may be detected during your annual physical exam. But if you have a more rapid-growing case (acute versus chronic leukemia) or if you have not seen a doctor in a while, you may consider getting a checkup based on certain symptoms.
Some common symptoms of leukemia include:
In addition to discussing your medical history in depth, your doctor will conduct a physical exam. They may check for signs of:
A primary care doctor or general physician is your first source for a physical exam. Depending on their findings, they may order blood tests or refer you to a cancer specialist (oncologist) to conduct further testing.
If you do not currently have a doctor, you may consider looking for a family physician in your area or calling your insurance company for a list of options. (Below, we also cover what steps you can take to find a doctor for testing and treatment, even if you do not have insurance.)
Leukemia itself starts in the bone marrow, where your blood cells are produced. Your doctor will likely order a complete blood count (CBC) test as the next step following a physical exam.
Like other blood tests, a CBC is derived from a blood sample. Your doctor will insert a needle into a vein in your arm to collect the sample. While an annual physical exam typically includes a CBC, your doctor may order this test when ruling out the possibility of underlying health conditions.
When considering leukemia, your doctor will look at a combination of the following:
Yes, you can. You can also get a CBC test done on your own through a local lab. This can help provide the information you need to determine any next steps. If you do decide to follow up with a doctor though, keep in mind that they may want their own CBC test done.
Either way, you can expect results from your CBC test within a few business days.
Since other health conditions can cause similar changes in a CBC, your doctor may also order a blood smear test (manual differential) for confirmation. During this test, a pathologist looks at a sample of your blood under a microscope. Theyll look for the size of your blood cells, as well as their proportion and any other atypical characteristics.
You may have heard of genetic tests for cancers such a leukemia. There are two types: genetic diagnostic tests and genetic screening. They each have different purposes.
A genetic diagnostic test looks for certain markers in your genes that could indicate cancer.
On the other hand, genetic screening looks for markers that could indicate a future risk of cancer. Screening tests may be helpful if your family has a history of cancer or if you would like to determine your personal risk in order to keep better tabs on your health.
Its important to keep in mind that genetic screening is not a 100-percent determination for whether youll develop cancer. If you currently have possible leukemia symptoms, you should choose diagnostic testing instead.
If the CBC or blood smear tests are inconclusive, your doctor may consider a bone marrow aspiration (biopsy). This test may help detect leukemia cells directly in your bone marrow before theyre released into your bloodstream.
During a bone marrow biopsy, your doctor will need to collect a sample of your bone marrow through a large needle. They may also take a small sample of bone for further evaluation. This test is done via a large bone, such as your hip bone.
Before they collect the sample, your doctor will apply a numbing agent to your skin. While you may feel pressure during the test, you should not be in pain.
But its possible to feel pain and discomfort for a few days after the procedure. Your doctor may recommend applying cold compresses or taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
It may take a few days before your results come back. Your doctor will look for signs of leukemia cells or any other atypical characteristics of your blood cells. They may also be able to detect chromosomal changes that are seen in people who have leukemia.
Cytochemistry tests are similar to blood smear tests in that theyre used to get a closer look at samples from your body under a microscope. The key difference is that your doctor exposes these samples to dyes or stains before examination to see how the cells react.
These tests also primarily look for chromosomal changes. This can help your doctor determine the type of leukemia you have so that they can also recommend the appropriate treatments.
The main types of cytochemistry tests include:
Imaging tests may be recommended if your doctor suspects that leukemia has spread to your lymph nodes or organs. Your doctor may use these tests to better identify which areas of your body to biopsy. Such tests may come in the form of MRI scans, X-rays, or CT scans.
These imaging tests are typically conducted by technicians. While some of the results may show up immediately, youll need to discuss them separately with your doctor at a follow-up appointment.
MRI scans can help determine whether any changes have occurred in soft tissues, organs, or bones as a result of cancer. This test uses a combination of radio waves and magnets to create images of body tissues.
During this test, your technician will have you take off any jewelry youre wearing. Then youll lie down on a table. This table will be pushed directly into the machines chamber. The machine itself is loud, and you can expect some rhythmic thumping noises and vibration as it scans you.
Despite the noise, youll need to lie completely still during the MRI scan. For this reason, some doctors recommend anesthesia for young children during the test. An MRI scan takes 15 to 45 minutes.
X-rays work by emitting low doses of radiation to create images. The test takes a few seconds to complete, and youll be sitting up comfortably during the process. You may also be asked to hold your breath.
For leukemia, chest X-rays may be used to take a closer look at enlarged lymph nodes. These tests may be ordered if your doctor suspects that leukemia has spread to your lungs.
CT scans are more advanced forms of X-rays that use computers to create 3-D images. For leukemia, a CT scan may be useful in providing images of lymph nodes and organs.
During the test, youll lie down on a table that slides into the scanner. The machine itself moves around your body, taking pictures and sending them back to the computer.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are similar to CT scans, but this type of procedure also utilizes radioactive glucose injections. These are taken up to 1 hour ahead of time to make any cancer cells clearer on the computer images. This test also takes 3-D images.
Youll need to lie still on a table during the test. The table itself will repeatedly move back and forth through the scanner. The scan itself takes about 45 minutes to complete.
Your doctor can also order the following tests to help diagnose leukemia:
If youre living with leukemia, you may want to know how to afford all of the necessary diagnostic testing.
If you have medical insurance, talk with the company to see which tests may be covered. Youll also want to ask the company about copayments and deductibles so that youre aware of any bills.
Consider the following options:
You may consider coverage from the federal governments Health Insurance Marketplace, which has open enrollment every November 1.
Learn more about enrollment for preexisting conditions.
Another option is to buy coverage directly from a medical insurance company. Some examples of major carriers include Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aetna.
If youre at least 65 years old, you qualify for federal Medicare benefits and will need to contact your provider directly to see if you need supplemental coverage to apply for leukemia testing and treatment.
On the other hand, Medicaid covers people under the age of 65 who meet certain income thresholds. Depending on your circumstances and the state you live in, you may even qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
If youre looking to pay out of pocket for more personalized care without medical insurance, you may consider a concierge doctor.
These types of physicians have the same background and training as those in other medical facilities. The key difference is that they do not work with insurance companies. You enroll in a membership plan instead.
These consist of specialists who may help diagnose and treat cancer, including leukemia. Cancer treatment centers may be for-profit, while others are nonprofit organizations that may offer financial support.
Consider organizations such as:
Testing for leukemia involves a combination of diagnostic screening tools, including a physical exam and CBC test. Depending on the results from these initial tests, your doctor may recommend further types of testing, such as biopsies, cytogenetics, and imaging.
Undergoing testing for leukemia may be a lengthy process that can become costly. If you do not have insurance, you still have options for obtaining coverage. You may also consider reaching out to cancer centers for additional support.
- Here's Why Longeveron Is Surging Today - Motley Fool - December 4th, 2021
- Global Regenerative Medicine Partnering Report/Directory 2021: Terms and Agreements for 1600 Deals 2014-2 - Benzinga - December 4th, 2021
- CAR T-Cell Therapy Market is anticipated to reach US$ 2.8 Bn by 2031 - PRNewswire - December 4th, 2021
- Stem-cell implant prototypes pave the way towards life-long treatment for type 1 diabetes - ZME Science - December 3rd, 2021
- Certain Patients With Heart Failure May Benefit From Stem Cell Therapy - Pharmacy Times - December 3rd, 2021
- Humanigen Announces Conference Call and Webcast to Discuss Lancet Respiratory Medicine Publications and Provide a Corporate Update - Yahoo Finance - December 3rd, 2021
- Roundtable Discussion: Usmani and Participants Review Using Transplant and Combination Therapy in a Patient With Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma -... - December 3rd, 2021
- Hematopoiesis and innate immunity: an inseparable couple for good and bad times, bound together by an hormetic relationship - DocWire News - December 3rd, 2021
- Reality of universal cancer prevention & cure - BSA bureau - December 3rd, 2021
- World Aids Day Improving the lives of everyone affected by HIV - QMUL - December 3rd, 2021
- Seres Therapeutics Announces First Patient Enrolled in Phase 1b Study of SER-155, an Investigational Microbiome Therapeutic to Reduce the Risk of... - December 3rd, 2021
- AVROBIO Presents Clinician Experience with FAB-GT Clinical Trial and Updated Safety Data for Investigational Gene Therapies in Fabry Disease and... - November 28th, 2021
- The questions surgical robots still need to answer - Becker's Orthopedic & Spine - November 24th, 2021
- Holiday Gift Guide 2021: The Best Wellness And Self-Care Essentials For Travel - Forbes - November 24th, 2021
- Investigating pathogens and their life cycles, for the benefit of society - MIT News - November 24th, 2021
- Mitigating Toxicities Will Position BCMA for Role in Triple-Class Refractory Multiple Myeloma - OncLive - November 24th, 2021
- Human Primary Cells Market 2021 | Know the Latest COVID19 Impact Analysis and Strategies of Key Players: Lonza, Thermo Fisher Scientific,... - November 21st, 2021
- Researcher Works for Diversity, Inclusion in Sciences, One Journal at a Time - Lab Manager Magazine - November 18th, 2021
- Raw Marijuana Won't Get You Stoned, But It Does Have Some Interesting Benefits - Benzinga - Benzinga - November 16th, 2021
- The 18 Best New November 2021 Skin-Care Launches That Deserve a Spot in Your Routine - Allure - November 16th, 2021
- Singapore Aims To Lead The World In Lab-Grown Meat - Intelligent Living - November 16th, 2021
- Dermarolling Your Scalp Is Proven to Increase Hair Growth and Thickness Here's How to Do It - Yahoo Lifestyle - November 15th, 2021
- Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Failure Reduces CV Events, Death in Select Patientsbut not Hospitalization - AJMC.com Managed Markets Network - November 15th, 2021
- JASPER THERAPEUTICS, INC. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (form 10-Q) - marketscreener.com - November 15th, 2021
- Week In Review: Zai Lab Announces Two In-Licensings With Total Value Of $800 Million - Seeking Alpha - November 15th, 2021
- Beam gets green light to begin first clinical test of base editing - BioPharma Dive - November 15th, 2021
- GlycoMimetics GMI-1359 Data Selected for Presentation at 63rd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition - Galveston County... - November 15th, 2021
- Jasper Therapeutics to Present at the Credit Suisse 30th Annual Virtual Healthcare Conference - GlobeNewswire - November 11th, 2021
- Biotech Companies are Expanding the Frontiers of Engineered Cell Therapy - BioSpace - November 11th, 2021
- Fate Therapeutics Announces Abstract Highlighting FT538 and - GlobeNewswire - November 11th, 2021
- Poseida Therapeutics to Present Preclinical Data Highlighting Fully Allogeneic CAR-T Product Candidates at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer... - November 11th, 2021
- Affimed Reports Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results and Highlights Operational Progress - KULR-TV - November 11th, 2021
- Jasper Therapeutics to Present at the Credit Suisse 30th Annual Virtual Healthcare Conference - Yahoo Finance - November 9th, 2021
- CELLECTAR BIOSCIENCES, INC. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (form 10-Q) - marketscreener.com - November 9th, 2021
- Hoth Therapeutics Inks API and Drug Product Contracts with WuXi STA to Advance Manufacturing of HT-KIT Cancer Therapeutic - PRNewswire - November 9th, 2021
- Technology set to redesign the future of food as agriculture moves towards net zero - ABC News - November 9th, 2021
- MAGENTA THERAPEUTICS, INC. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. (form 10-Q) - marketscreener.com - November 5th, 2021
- Magenta Therapeutics Announces Data Presentations Related to its Mobilization and Conditioning Programs at the 2021 American Society of Hematology... - November 5th, 2021
- 15 Best Peptide Skin-Care Products 2021 for Smoother, Firmer, and Plumper Skin - Allure - November 5th, 2021
- Atara Biotherapeutics to Present Eight Abstracts at the 63rd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, Including First Presentation of... - November 5th, 2021
- CRISPR Therapeutics Provides Business Update and Reports Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results - GlobeNewswire - November 5th, 2021
- Fate Therapeutics Announces Eight Presentations at the 2021 ASH Annual Meeting - The Bakersfield Californian - November 5th, 2021
- STEMTECH CORPORATION (OTC:GNTW) ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF SANDRA KAZICKAITE TO THE ROLE OF VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL PERFORMANCE - Yahoo Finance - November 3rd, 2021
- Assessing the benefits of stem cell research (column) - LNP | LancasterOnline - November 1st, 2021
- Exposed: The Plague Of Fake Medical Trials Putting Lives In Danger - Todayuknews - Todayuknews - November 1st, 2021
- To Reduce Stress and Boost Energy, Try Maca Root - The Beet - November 1st, 2021
- In Vitro Toxicology Testing Market Outlook 2021 Pricing Strategy, Industry Latest News, Top Company Analysis, Research Report Analysis and Share by... - November 1st, 2021
- Geron Enters New Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway in the United Kingdom for Imetelstat - Business Wire - November 1st, 2021
- Stem Cell Diseases: What Can Stem Cells Cure | stemcela.com - October 30th, 2021
- The Cost Of Stem Cell Therapy in 2021 | BioInformant - October 30th, 2021
- NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research | STEM Cell ... - October 30th, 2021
- Fi Europe 2021 innovation finalists mirror mega trends of plant based and sustainability - FoodNavigator.com - October 30th, 2021
- Types of Oncology Drugs - Healthline - October 28th, 2021
- Medical Innovation In Pet Healthcare Is Taking Things Up a Notch - Entrepreneur - October 28th, 2021
- BIOHAVEN ENROLLS PHASE 1A/1B CLINICAL TRIAL OF BHV-1100, LEAD ASSET FROM ITS ARM (ANTIBODY RECRUITING MOLECULE) PLATFORM, IN COMBINATION WITH NK CELL... - October 28th, 2021
- Researchers discover a way to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics - EurekAlert - October 28th, 2021
- Fresh Bros: Exploring the Top Five Health Benefits of Turmeric Extract with BioPerine - GlobeNewswire - October 28th, 2021
- All hopes to save the northern white rhinos now rest on a single female - ZME Science - October 23rd, 2021
- AVROBIO Reports New Interim Safety Data Across Investigational Gene Therapies for Fabry and Gaucher Disease Type 1 - StreetInsider.com - October 21st, 2021
- CDMO: The Rise of End-to-End Services - Marketscreener.com - October 21st, 2021
- MeiraGTx Announces the Presentation of Two Novel Inherited - GlobeNewswire - October 21st, 2021
- Current status of drug repositioning in hematology - DocWire News - October 19th, 2021
- Is Fresh Breast Milk Better for Preemies Than Pumped and Stored? - UMass News and Media Relations - October 19th, 2021
- Vertex Announces Positive Day 90 Data for the First Patient in the Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial Dosed With VX-880, a Novel Investigational Stem... - October 19th, 2021
- Headband Could Beat Insomnia By Zapping The Brain While Sufferers Wear It For 20 Minutes At Bedtime - - Todayuknews - October 19th, 2021
- BioLineRx Announces Positive Results from Pharmacoeconomic Study Positioning Motixafortide as Potential Standard of Care in Stem Cell Mobilization -... - October 17th, 2021
- Misinformation on stem cell treatments for COVID-19 linked to overhyped science, researchers argue - EurekAlert - October 17th, 2021
- FDA Approves Genentech's Tecentriq as Adjuvant Treatment for Certain People With Early Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - BioSpace - October 17th, 2021
- Nic Chapman: my MS battle and the treatment that's given me hope - The Times - October 17th, 2021
- Dream Body Clinic Stem Cell Therapy Stem Cells HGH - October 13th, 2021
- Hematopoietic Stem Cells - October 13th, 2021
- 3D printing: Healthcare insiders' view on the tech - Verdict - October 13th, 2021
- Top 10 Best Stem Cell Supplement Brands - Healthtrends - October 13th, 2021
- Mitochondrial superoxide dismutase overexpression and low oxygen conditioning hormesis improve the performance of irradiated sterile males |... - October 13th, 2021
- Researchers uncover how cancer cells use sugar residue to evade the immune system - News-Medical.net - October 13th, 2021
- The science and practicality of cultured meat The Stute - The Stute - October 11th, 2021
- Vitro Biopharma Inc. July 31st 2021; 3rd Quarter ended Financial Results of Operations and Shareholder Le - Benzinga - October 11th, 2021
- Want To Support Healthy Bones? It's Time To Get Your Vitamin D In Check - mindbodygreen.com - October 11th, 2021
- Joint : Why Breast Cancer Awareness Matters, and How to Get It Done - marketscreener.com - October 11th, 2021
- Faster healing of wounds can decrease pain and suffering and save lives - KY3 - October 7th, 2021