Understanding Medical Tests for CLL
Medical tests are needed to diagnose CLL and find out how far along your disease is.
Common tests to diagnose CLL include:
- Physical exam—your doctor will give you a physical exam to check for swollen lymph nodes, liver, or spleen (an organ in your abdomen), or other signs of CLL
- Blood cell counts—your blood is taken through a vein and examined. Most people with CLL have a high white blood cell count
- Biopsy—a lymph node or small sample of bone marrow is removed and viewed under a microscope to see if it is CLL
- Flow cytometry—your blood is examined to find out the type of cancer and number of cells involved
Common tests to find out how far along your CLL is include:
- Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans— these are pictures of inside your body that help show where the CLL is
How much testing can you expect?
The types and frequency of medical tests will vary. Most people with CLL will have regular physical exams, blood tests, and occasional imaging tests to monitor their health.
This information does not take the place of talking with your doctor. Discuss with your doctor any questions you have about your medical condition or your treatment.