Every day, 170 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia. Leukemia is a type of cancer that typically affects the bone marrow and white blood cells. A patient with leukemia typically has an issue with white blood cell production and may require a bone marrow transplant. Being aware of what symptoms to look for and informing yourself about this particular type of cancer is an important part of tackling it. 1
If you’re wondering how you can test for leukemia at home and in the medical center, read on. We’re here to help with our quick (but informative) guide.
At-Home Testing for Leukemia
If you research how you can test for leukemia at home online, you might come across by-mail blood test kits. Aside from this, the only way for testing leukemia at home is to be aware of the symptoms. From there, you would see your healthcare professional for further testing (which we’ll explain below).
Remember that when it comes to leukemia, patients sometimes don’t show symptoms at all and that severity of symptoms can range from person to person. Symptoms can also be due to a variety of other diseases, so if you’re feeling anxious about your health, the best idea is to seek professional help.
Look for Symptoms
The best bet for how to test for leukemia at home is to look for these symptoms. Patients often wonder what are the early signs of leukemia and what does leukemia pain feel like — which is where knowing the signs and symptoms comes into play.
- Easy bruising and bleeding, including recurring nosebleeds
- Persistent fatigue
- Frequent or severe infections
- Fever and chills
- Dramatic weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Pain or tenderness in the bones
- Profuse sweating, especially at night
- Petechiae (these leukemia spots are tiny red splotches on your skin — if you’re wondering what do leukemia spots look like, they tend to resemble a rash)
Patients and loved ones also are curious about what are the symptoms of end stage leukemia. As leukemia progresses, symptoms can remain the same (especially because leukemia doesn’t always show signs in the beginning). Symptoms may, however, become more elevated as patients undergo more frequent blood transfusions and rigorous therapy.
Types of Leukemia
It’s also important to note that there are different types of leukemia. The 4 kinds are:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, while Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is the most chronic leukemia in adults. Doctors classify leukemia based on the cells affected and the progression of the illness.
How is Leukemia Diagnosed?
If you’re asking how leukemia is diagnosed, there are a series of steps doctors will take if they suspect you might have this particular type of cancer. 1
During a physical exam, your doctor will look for physical signs of leukemia, like an enlarged spleen or enlarged lymph nodes. They will also ask questions about your medical and family history, such as whether or not you have any family members with a history of leukemia or whether you’ve been exposed to radiation in the past.
A leukemia diagnosis most often involves a laboratory blood sample. An abnormality in blood cells may suggest a diagnosis, and the sample may be further examined under a microscope to detect abnormal white blood cells.
Bone Marrow Biopsy
During a bone marrow biopsy, a thin long needle is used to withdraw a sample of bone marrow from the hip bone. The cells from the bone marrow will be further assessed to see if there is the presence of cancer cells. With a bone marrow test, doctors can look for certain cell markets to determine what kind of leukemia is present and what treatment is best.
MRI or CT Scan
For some patients, an MRI or CT scan might also be useful. This helps to determine the extent of your leukemia.
Leukemia Cancer Treatment
If a leukemia diagnosis is positive, the cancer is typically treated through chemotherapy, which occurs in a three-step process.
This is intended to get the patient into a state of remission as quickly as possible.
Measures are put in place to prevent the abnormal cells from returning.
A stem cell transplant is initiated to help the patient strengthen their immune system and stimulate the growth of healthy bone marrow.
Leukemia at ITC
At ITC, we focus on effective, natural treatments for leukemia that are customized to your personal health, medical history, and cancer progression. Our team is dedicated, passionate, and ready to come up with a customized treatment plan that works for you and your lifestyle. We try to use cancer treatment options other than radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or other invasive methods. Through one-on-one consultations, we promise to deliver the most effective targeted therapy options.
If you have any further questions about leukemia symptoms or diagnosis, what causes leukemia, or some creative ideas for a leukemia diet — make sure to contact us today. You can also reach out to us to schedule your free consultation. Although looking for symptoms yourself is always an option, if you feel like something isn’t quite right, it’s always best to contact a healthcare professional.
From all of us at Immunity Therapy Center, thanks for reading. We hope you have a bright day ahead and we look forward to speaking with you soon.
Written By: Dr. Adolfo Carrillo
Dr. Adolfo Carrillo is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
Dr. Carrillo has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista for over 5 years as a treating physician at the Immunity the Immunity Therapy Center. Dr. Carrillo is a charismatic Doctor whose knowledge and commitment to patient care and bringing healing to patients is a valuable asset to our center.
- Stoppler, Melissa. “Leukemia Treatment, DIagnosis, Causes, Symptoms & Prognosis.” medicinenet.com, September 11, 2019, https://www.medicinenet.com/leukemia/article.htm. Accessed May 29, 2020.
- “Statistics on Leukemia and Other Blood Cancers.” allbloodcancers.org, (no publish date), https://allbloodcancers.org/statistics/. Accessed May 29, 2020.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.