If your child has been diagnosed with leukemia, a few tests can help determine the exact cause. One test is called a spinal tap or lumbar puncture. In this procedure, a needle is inserted into the spinal canal to measure pressure. A small sample of cerebral spinal fluid is then removed. This fluid is the substance that bathes your child’s brain and spinal cord. Although leukemia symptoms may vary from child to child, the type your child suffers from will determine which tests they should perform.
Early signs of leukemia
Most people at risk for leukemia don’t show symptoms in the early stages. However, it is crucial to see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms. These early symptoms are often flu-like and may persist for longer than usual. Your doctor will discuss your medical history and do a physical exam to check lymph nodes and other body areas. They will order tests to look for additional evidence if they find any abnormalities.
One of the early signs of leukemia is low platelet counts. This can lead to frequent infections and other problems. It can also lead to bruising easily and weakness. You might also experience nosebleeds or excessive bleeding. Other signs of leukemia can accompany the symptoms, or they could be utterly unrelated to the disease.
Leukemia typically affects blood cells called lymphocytes but can also affect blood-forming myeloid cells. Different types of leukemia have different symptoms. For example, people with acute leukemia usually feel sick within weeks of the disease developing. In this case, it is essential to get immediate medical care.
Treatment options for leukemia symptoms vary depending on the type of leukemia. The most common type is acute lymphocytic leukemia, which strikes children, adolescents, and young adults. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, on the other hand, is rare and tends to strike older adults. Although it can be deadly, it can be cured with the proper treatment.
Leukemia is treated by doctors who specialize in the disease. They include medical oncologists, hematologists, and radiation oncologists. In addition to these professionals, registered dietitians may be involved in your healthcare team. Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you and help you make the best decision for your health.
Treatment options for leukemia symptoms include chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill leukemia cells by blocking their growth. The drugs may be taken orally or injected into the body. Sometimes, patients may receive chemotherapy before undergoing a stem cell transplant.
Tests to diagnose leukemia
Many different leukemia tests can be used to diagnose the disease. These include a chest X-ray, MRI scan, and CT scan. The results of these tests are significant because they will tell your doctor exactly what area of the body has leukemia cells. Your doctor may also do a lumbar puncture to check for leukemia in spinal fluid. Different treatment options may be available depending on the type of leukemia and how far the disease has spread.
Another test used to determine the severity of the disease is a spinal tap. This involves taking a sample of cerebrospinal fluid from your lower back. This sample may be used to inject chemotherapy drugs into your spinal cord. Several blood tests may also be done, including a bone marrow biopsy.
Blood tests are another essential part of a leukemia diagnosis. Leukemia can affect the red blood cells in the blood and cause a blood cell count to be abnormal. A doctor will also check for other conditions that can cause a high blood count. Other tests that your doctor may order include a blood test to determine if you have autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Other blood tests will measure your lactic acid, uric acid, and lactate dehydrogenase levels. A complete blood count will also detect whether you have a low or high platelet count and changes to your liver’s platelet production.
Treatment options for chronic leukemia
Treatment options for chronic leukemia symptoms include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. The goal of treatment is to prevent symptoms and achieve remission. Treatment options may be individualized for each patient. For example, low-risk patients may be managed with an active surveillance approach, while patients with advanced diseases may need to start treatment immediately.
The choice of treatment will depend on the type of cancer and stage of the disease, symptoms, age, overall health, and genetics. For example, patients with 17p deletion or mutation in the TP53 gene may receive more aggressive treatment. Conversely, patients with mutations in the IGHV gene may have a more conservative treatment plan.
For people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the Mayo Clinic is testing new treatments that may reduce the number of cancer cells in the body. Because CLL is a slowly growing cancer, “watch and wait” may be an appropriate treatment option.