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Leukemia Tests, Diagnosis, Prognosis and Stages

You can be assured that we’ll be by your side to support and guide you through the diagnosis of leukemia. Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center leukemia patients have a team of specialists dedicated to their care. Our medical center uses state-of-the-art technologies to accurately diagnose leukemia, ensuring you and your doctors have the best information possible to navigate your cancer treatment together.

Are there Screening Tests for Leukemia?

Currently, there is no standardized screening test to detect leukemia. Doctors may find chronic (slow-growing) leukemia during a routine blood test.

What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Leukemia?

If you have signs or symptoms of leukemia, your doctor may conduct:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood test
  • Bone marrow test
  • Imaging scans
  • A spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Chromosome/genetic test

These diagnostic tools can help your Banner MD Anderson health care provider to determine the type of leukemia you have, how far it has progressed, and how best to treat your disease.

This information will help your doctor develop a personalized and effective treatment plan for you. This treatment plan will assist you in understanding your prognosis. Once you know the type of leukemia you have, its stage and method of treatment, you are encouraged to ask your doctor and health team questions. Being knowledgeable about your diagnosis can help you make informed decisions.

What Is the Prognosis of a Leukemia Diagnosis?

A patient’s chance of survival depends on a variety of factors, including age, progression of the cancer, type of leukemia and response to treatment. In general, acute (fast-growing) leukemias may be cured with treatment. Chronic leukemias (slow-growing) may not be cured, however, treatment can often control it.

Leukemia Stages

Leukemia staging is different than other cancers. Usually, cancer stages are based on the size and spread of tumors. Leukemia occurs in blood cells in the bone marrow, so often leukemia uses blood cell counts and accumulation of cells in organs to assign disease stage.

Survival rates for leukemia are higher in younger adults and children than the elderly. Leukemia stages are frequently characterized by blood cell counts as well as the number of leukemia cells found in other organs. Each leukemia type has its own staging system. Once your diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor will explain the stage for your leukemia type.

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