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Doctor insights on: Does Leukemia Show In Blood Test

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Does a blood test always show if a person has leukemia?

Does a blood test always show if a person has leukemia?

Not always: Leukemia is a cancer of cells within the bone marrow. This often spills into the blood, but not always. If blood tests do not confirm a leukemia diagnosis and there is still a suspicion of leukemia, a bone marrow aspirate and biopsy will be performed. This usually confirms the diagnosis.

Dr. Liawaty Ho
1,147 Doctors shared insights

Leukemia (Definition)

A malignant hematologic neoplasm that originates in the bone marrow and represents a clonal proliferation of hematopoietic elements belonging to any of the myeloid, lymphoid, erythroid, and megakaryocytic lineages. Of note, other hematologic neoplasms like lymphoma or myeloma may demonstrate a leukemic phase without actually originating in the bone marrow ...Read more


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Can a CBC (blood test) show leukemia always?

Can a CBC (blood test) show leukemia always?

Yes, most times: A leukemia typically begins in the bone marrow and will often show effects on the CBC as the cancer cells spill over into the circulating blood. On rare occasions leukemia may be still limited in the bone marrow, so we make a diagnosis by taking a bone marrow sample.

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Could a CBC (blood test) show leukemia accurately always?

Could a CBC (blood test) show leukemia accurately always?

Sometimes: Sometimes but not always. Leukemia, a form of blood and bone marrow cancer, is frequently detectable in the blood; however, especially if early in the course of the disease, leukemic cells may be confined to the bone marrow and not cross into the blood in sufficient numbers to be detected by a cbc. Ultimately, the complete diagnosis and prognosis of leukemia relies on bone marrow examination.

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Is there a blood test to detect leukemia?

Is there a blood test to detect leukemia?

Yes.: There are many forms of leukemia. Some are "acute" and present quickly. These can be serious / fatal without treatment. Other types of leukemia are "chronic' and can be present for years without the patient knowing / being diagnosed. One of the first tests used to diagnose any leukemia is a complete blood count and review of a peripheral blood smear under the microscope. Hope this helps.

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Can Leukemia be diagnosed through a blood test?

Can Leukemia be diagnosed through a blood test?

Yes: That is the first step: a blood cell count and from there, if necessary, other related tests.

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Can leukemia be detected through annual blood test?

Likely: Leukemia can usually be detected by examination of blood, however whether annual blood tests are likely to provide early diagnosis is not known. Some leukemias will require examination of bone marrow for diagnosis.

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Can leukemia be detected through a simple blood test?

Maybe: At times a blood test can reveal leukemia, more often, it reveals a suggestion of leukemia (decreased blood counts) that will require additional tests. The best test to know about leukemia when there are these suggestions, is to have the bone marrow examined. This will definitely show leukemia, if it is present.

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Took a blood test which showws no abnormalities, so does this rule out leukemia?

Probably: Probably yes. There are rare instances of leukemia, especially in a very early stage, when no significant abnormalities may be present in the peripheral blood, but that is a very unusual situation.

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Could doctors tell if you have leukemia by a blood test?

Could doctors tell if you have leukemia by a blood test?

Usually yes: If there are signs and symptoms suspicious of leukemia, the initial test is usually a blood test (cbc with differential and morphology) followed by a bone marrow study.

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Blood test results -what would tell that I have leukemia?

Blood test results -what would tell that I have leukemia?

See below...: As general rule, your blood test results should be interpreted by your physician. But to answer your question, a common abnormal finding in the blood of a patient with leukemia is a significantly increased WBC (white blood cell) count with or without abnormal circulating cells. Anemia (low rbc and hemoglobin) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets) are also common. Not all leukemias show high wbc.

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How much time does it take to get blood test results if leukemia is suspected?

How much time does it take to get blood test results if leukemia is suspected?

Depends: Sometimes very quickly because you can see the abnormal cells on a slide under the microscope from a simple blood draw. Sometimes it requires a bone marrow biopsy. But even if that is done, once the slide a stained, the pathologist can look right away. Hope this helps.

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Expert opinion - should leukemia or any other cancer have shown up in my blood test?

Expert opinion - should leukemia or any other cancer have shown up in my blood test?

Yes and no: Certainly, if you have active leukemia, a basic CBC will show changes indicative of that disease. It's not likely there's any cancers that would present on basic blood tests. Good luck.

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What to do if I am scared I have leukemia- would they have seen anything scary froma simple iron/b12 blood test?

No: However, chances are you also got a CBC -- complete blood count. If this is normal, and there are no weird cells, your chances of having leukemia at your age are near zero.

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Docs, could a blood test differentiate between leukemia and anemia?

Yes: Anemia is detected in a blood test by a decrease in your hemoglobin (in your red cells). It is not a true disease in its own right as it is always caused by something-blood loss and iron deficiency are common causes. Once a patient is found to have anemia, particularly if it persists, the cause of the anemia needs to be determined. Leukemia is complex and would have more than anemia.

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I'm scared I have leukemia- would docs see anything from a simple iron/b12 blood test?

I'm scared I have leukemia- would docs see anything from a simple iron/b12 blood test?

Unlikely: A more complete blood test is probably necessary including CBC with differential and morphologic assessment. This would show if there is an increased number of white blood cells including atypical cells or circulating blasts. Ultimately, in most cases, an accurate and complete diagnostic and prognostic workup for leukemia relies on bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. Please consult your doctor.

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Does leukemia come in your blood test all the time? What if you have all symptoms of it and your platelets are fine?

Does leukemia come in your blood test all the time? What if you have all symptoms of it and your platelets are fine?

Usually yes: Most of the times, leukemia can be detected by an abnormal blood test but not always. Platelets are usually decreased but a normal number of platelets does not rule out leukemia. Signs and symptoms of leukemia include weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, persistent fever, bone pain, refusal to bear weight, easy bruising and/or bleeding, skin pallor, enlarged liver and/or spleen, etc.

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A blood test showed that I have high red and white cells and low lymph high neut. Could this be a sign of leukemia?

A blood test showed that I have high red and white cells and low lymph high neut. Could this be a sign of leukemia?

It depends on Actual: You need to provide us actual numbers of you blood counts...simply saying high and low does not help us to able to make a diagnosis. So we want to know your Hb, WBC, Differential

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