Doctors use several different lab and imaging tests to help detect (diagnose) a blood cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes or myeloproliferative disease). You may need to undergo additional tests to confirm your diagnosis.
Once your diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor may need to test you for certain genetic, cellular or molecular characteristics that will help him or her treat your specific diagnosis.
Your doctor considers these test results along with information from your physical examination and detailed medical history to:
- Confirm a blood cancer diagnosis, its specific subtype and its stage
- Decide whether additional tests are needed
- Determine your risk and expected outcome (prognosis)
- Guide treatment decisions
- Monitor your condition if treatment isn't yet needed ("watch and wait")
- Measure your response to treatment during and after therapy
- Track your health during and after treatment
The tests most commonly used to diagnose and monitor blood cancers include:
Your doctor may order additional tests if you have multiple medical conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or other illnesses (called comorbidities) that may affect your body's ability to fight infection.