A complete blood count (CBC) test reviews the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the patient's blood. CLL affects B-cells, a type of lymphocyte white blood cell. The CLL cells don't die when they should and crowd out other types of blood cells (the crowding out process typically happens slowly for CLL patients).
A CLL patient should receive a CBC with differential test. A differential means the doctor also looks at the balance between the different white blood cells (basophils, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes).
The CBC with differential test is completed by the doctor taking a sample of the patient's blood and looking at it under a microscope. The CLL patient's lab results will typically show a high number of B-cell lymphocytes. Other blood cell types like red blood cells or platelets may be low. The blood cell environment factors into when treatment is needed. See here for blood count qualifications to start treatment.
about the author
Megan joined HealthTree as a Community Coordinator for CLL in 2022. She is the daughter of a blood cancer patient and has found a passion for helping support patients and caregivers to advance research for their cure and improve their quality of life. In her spare time, she loves to be around family, sew, and cook.