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Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is diagnosed through a series of tests that examine the blood and bone marrow. The process usually begins with a physical examination where the doctor checks for physical signs of CML such as an enlarged spleen, abdominal discomfort, unexplained fatigure and bruising or bleeding. If CML is suspected, the following tests may be conducted:

Blood Tests:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): This test measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood. In CML, the white blood cell count is often high.
  • Peripheral blood smear: In this test, a sample of the patient's blood is examined under a microscope to check for abnormal cells. The presence of immature white blood cells (blasts) in the blood can indicate CML.
  • Chemistry panel: This test measures the levels of various chemicals in the blood. It can help assess the patient's overall health and the function of their organs.

Bone Marrow Tests:

  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: These tests involve taking a small sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip bone) and examining it under a microscope. 
  • Cytogenetic analysis: This test looks at the chromosomes in the cells from the bone marrow. It can identify the Philadelphia chromosome, which confirms a diagnosis of CML.
  • Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH): This test uses special fluorescent dyes that only attach to specific parts of chromosomes. FISH can find most chromosome changes that can be seen in CML cells, such as the Philadelphia chromosome.

Imaging Tests:

  • Chest X-ray: This test can help determine if the spleen or liver is enlarged, which can occur in people with CML.
  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create images of organs and tissues inside the body. It can help determine the size of the spleen and liver.

A Summary of Diagnosing Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

It's important to note that the diagnosis and classification of CML is complex and requires a comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists. A complete diagnosis requires a physical examination, looking at a bone marrow sample under the microscope and often molecular genetic testing. The specific markers and genetic changes found in the bone marrow sample can also help determine a person's prognosis and guide treatment decisions. If you don't currently have an CML specialist on your team, it is important that you consult with one. Use HealthTree's CML Specialist Directory to locate a specialist near you. 

Want to Learn More About Chronic Myeloid Leukemia?

Keep reading HealthTree for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia's 101 pages!

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is diagnosed through a series of tests that examine the blood and bone marrow. The process usually begins with a physical examination where the doctor checks for physical signs of CML such as an enlarged spleen, abdominal discomfort, unexplained fatigure and bruising or bleeding. If CML is suspected, the following tests may be conducted:

Blood Tests:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): This test measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood. In CML, the white blood cell count is often high.
  • Peripheral blood smear: In this test, a sample of the patient's blood is examined under a microscope to check for abnormal cells. The presence of immature white blood cells (blasts) in the blood can indicate CML.
  • Chemistry panel: This test measures the levels of various chemicals in the blood. It can help assess the patient's overall health and the function of their organs.

Bone Marrow Tests:

  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: These tests involve taking a small sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip bone) and examining it under a microscope. 
  • Cytogenetic analysis: This test looks at the chromosomes in the cells from the bone marrow. It can identify the Philadelphia chromosome, which confirms a diagnosis of CML.
  • Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH): This test uses special fluorescent dyes that only attach to specific parts of chromosomes. FISH can find most chromosome changes that can be seen in CML cells, such as the Philadelphia chromosome.

Imaging Tests:

  • Chest X-ray: This test can help determine if the spleen or liver is enlarged, which can occur in people with CML.
  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create images of organs and tissues inside the body. It can help determine the size of the spleen and liver.

A Summary of Diagnosing Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

It's important to note that the diagnosis and classification of CML is complex and requires a comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists. A complete diagnosis requires a physical examination, looking at a bone marrow sample under the microscope and often molecular genetic testing. The specific markers and genetic changes found in the bone marrow sample can also help determine a person's prognosis and guide treatment decisions. If you don't currently have an CML specialist on your team, it is important that you consult with one. Use HealthTree's CML Specialist Directory to locate a specialist near you. 

Want to Learn More About Chronic Myeloid Leukemia?

Keep reading HealthTree for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia's 101 pages!

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