According to Mayo Clinic, there is no single test to diagnose the presence of leukemia. Doctor will run several tests to identify this type of blood cancer. Before run tests, doctor will observe some of visible symptoms related to leukemia. So it’s important to know about the common symptoms of the disease. Below are most common signs and symptoms of leukemia. Some of them are general symptoms that may relate to other health problem.
Common signs and symptoms of leukemia
Since there are three types of leukemia, the symptoms may vary depend on its type. Common leukemia symptoms and signs are including frequent infections, high-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, unknown weight loss, excessive sweating, enlarge spleen or liver, easy bruising, and bone pain. If someone experiences several symptoms above at the same time, it should prompt to seek a doctor for further test.
Tests to diagnose leukemia
1. Physical exam. After asking the patients about their symptoms, a doctor will perform physical exam. During this test, he/she may look for abnormalities such as the enlargement of the spleen, lumps, or other condition related to the disease. During this step doctor may also ask the patients about their health history.
2. Blood tests. A complete blood count test that observes the number of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells in patient’s blood may be performed to detect blood abnormalities. Several other blood tests such as cytogenic analysis and a peripheral blood smear often can be done to complete the blood test result.
3. Biopsy. In this procedure, the doctor takes a sample from bone marrow for further identification. A fine needle is inserted to the part of breast bone or hip to acquire the sample. Latter, the sample examined by a pathologist. Besides bone marrow, other parts of the patient’s body such as lymph node may be identified, depends on the type of leukemia suspected.
4. Spinal tap. In this test, a small amount of spinal fluids may be taken through specific sampling method. Latter the sample will be analyzed by a pathologist. This procedure is painful so the test will be done under an anesthetic condition.
5. Other tests. According to WebMD.com, Other tests that could be perform to diagnosis leukemia are including X-Rays, MRI’s, ultrasounds, and CT scans. Those tests will be performed as long as needed. Which test should the patient follow will depends on doctor recommendations.