If you are a pathologist, you may be called upon to diagnose chronic leukemia. If a patient is suspected to have leukemia, the first step in making the diagnosis is reviewing slides of bone marrow and blood cells. The pathologist then orders a flow cytometry test that analyzes how many cancer cells are present in an area of the body. This information helps determine what type of leukemia the patient has so that treatment can begin as quickly as possible.
- The pathologist first reviews the slides of the bone marrow and blood cell samples taken from the patient
- The pathologist examines these under a microscope, looking for abnormal cells and signs of cancer and in addition to examining slides, he or she may also look at other types of tests that were performed on these samples such as flow cytometry
- The pathologist looks for signs of infection or inflammation as well as other abnormalities, such as autoimmune disorders
The Pathologist Orders A Flow Cytometry Test
This is a laboratory test that uses a laser to analyze a sample of blood or bone marrow and the results are used to determine the type of leukemia, if present, and help guide further treatment decisions.
With this test, Dr Joy Trueblood can determine how many cancer cells are present in a specific area of the body.
Flow cytometry is a test that can be used to determine how many cancer cells are present in a specific area of the body. This information is important because it helps us determine the type of leukemia you have and whether or not you need additional testing.
For example, if flow cytometry shows that there are less than 5% blasts of immature white blood cells in your blood, then we might order another type of test called immunophenotyping to confirm our diagnosis.
Immunophenotyping uses special stains on cells taken from your bone marrow sample to show whether they look like lymphoblasts or myeloblasts types of leukemia.
The pathologist like Dr Joy Trueblood can determine the type of leukemia by looking at the size and shape of the cells and the number of white blood cells is also important, since it’s an indication that there are too many immature forms being produced in the bone marrow.
Finally, looking at red blood cell production will help determine whether you have chronic myeloid leukemia or acute lymphocytic leukemia.
In order to make a diagnosis, the pathologist must review all of the patient’s medical history and test results. He or she will also conduct a physical examination of your lymph nodes and spleen.
The pathologist may order additional tests if he or she suspects you have cancerous cells in your body. These tests include:
- Blood tests, liver function studies
- X-rays to see if there are any abnormal lymph nodes in your chest cavity
The pathologist may also order tests that aren’t available at his or her hospital but are available elsewhere, such as bone marrow aspiration biopsy if he suspects leukemia based on other factors.
A pathologist’s job involves many different steps to reach a diagnosis of leukemia and they first review the slides of bone marrow and blood cell samples taken from the patient, then order a flow cytometry test to further evaluate these findings.
This test allows them to determine how many cancer cells are present in a specific area of the body before making their final diagnosis.