The process of detecting the presence of any disease usually commences with the patient approaching a doctor after experiencing symptoms related to the disorder. The same goes for leukemia, a medical condition wherein the bone marrow is infested with abnormal WBCs.
However, many a time the indications of this disease are highlighted in the blood tests conducted for other purposes. The detection of leukemia commences with the physical examination of the patient. During this procedure, the doctor analyzes the family history of the individual and also screens for any symptoms of the disease or other apparent irregularities. The fundamental blood test conducted to evaluate the presence of leukemia is referred to as the complete blood count or CBC. This blood test aids in asserting the count of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets; and also projects the level of blood hemoglobin.
Other tests related to the blood that may be conducted for further verification include a peripheral blood smear and cytogenic analysis. While the former reveals the occurrence of blast cells and also illustrates the type and quantity of WBCs; the latter gives a clear picture of any alterations in the chromosomes of the lymphocytes. The effect of the malignancy on the normal functioning of various organs can also be analyzed by certain other blood tests. Apart from blood tests, biopsies also assist in detecting leukemia. The disease can be identified by conducting the procedure of bone marrow aspiration wherein the bone marrow is taken out for testing from the hip or breast bone via a needle. Doctors may also ask for a lymph node biopsy for detailed study of the precise variant of the disease. Other procedures that serve as means of detecting leukemia include a lumbar puncture or spinal tap, X-rays, CT scans, MRI and ultrasounds.
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