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Diagnosing

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)


Diagnosing Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

At present, there are no routine screening tests for chronic myelogenous leukemia. Sometimes, this cancer is discovered when blood tests are done for a regular physical exam or other reasons. Test results may show an elevated white blood cell count, even though the patient has no symptoms.

CML responds most effectively to treatment during the early stages of the disease, which is why a prompt diagnosis is critical. Our Sheba pathologists and clinicians have been trained at world-leading cancer centers. We use our extensive experience and cutting-edge technologies to integrate and assess all of your test results in order to diagnose leukemia quickly and precisely.

A variety of test procedures can be used to confirm a diagnosis of CML. In the Hemato-Oncology Division at Sheba Medical Center, we will evaluate each individual’s case to determine which tests to perform.

 

Blood Tests

If you have symptoms that suggest you may have leukemia, blood tests are the first step. Blood will be taken from a vein and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Your blood test will include a CBC (complete blood count) to check how many platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells you have. Changes in the quantity and appearance of your blood cells can help diagnose CML.

 

Bone Marrow Tests

Leukemia starts in the bone marrow, so evaluating bone marrow samples is an essential part of testing for CML. Generally, a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are done, and cytogenetic analysis is used to examine the cells for specific chromosomal changes, such as the Philadelphia chromosome found with CML.

 

FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization) Test

This detailed laboratory test checks for chromosome or gene abnormalities. It is typically performed to count the amount of cells that contain the BCR-ABL gene or the Philadelphia chromosome.

 

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test

Used to detect the BCR-ABL gene, the PCR test is extremely sensitive. Also, it is often used throughout treatment to evaluate how well the therapy is working.

 

Ultrasound or CT Scans

These imaging procedures can measure the size of your spleen or check to see if any lymph nodes or other organs are enlarged.

 

Simulation Test

A scan may be performed in order to inspect your brain and spinal cord for any signs that the CML has spread to this area.

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