… Continued …
To make a diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), examining the symptoms alone is not enough. Several tests are required to diagnose this cancer.
- Physical examination to check your blood pressure and pulse. Your doctor may also need to check abdomen, lymph nodes, or spleen to find any abnormality.
- Blood tests such as CBC (complete blood count) test to find abnormalities in the blood cells.
- Analyzing the samples of bone marrow, such as some taken from hipbone. This is required since the mechanism of blood cells production in the bone marrow doesn’t work properly in people with CML.
- A special test such as FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) to analyze the existence of Philadelphia chromosome in the samples of bone marrow or blood.
Once the diagnosis of CML is made, the next step is the determination for the phase of the disease. In general, it is divided into 3 major phases; early chronic, accelerated, and blastic (the most advanced stage, a life-threatening phase).
The amount of diseased cells in the bone marrow or blood is the major variable to determine the phase. Doctor can make the comparison between diseased cells and healthy cells in the blood /bone marrow. A higher proportion is equivalent to the severity level of the disease.
How about gout? As written before, a joint fluid test is the common procedure to diagnose it, though other additional tests may be required. For in-depth information of diagnosis and tests for gout, see this section!
The risk of gout is not the single issue of complication associated with this cancer. In people with CML, joint pain can be triggered by deposits of needle-like urate crystals (gout) or the expanding bone marrow due to excess build-ups of white blood cells.
Other possible complications:
- Easier to have excess bleeding. When there are more diseased cells in the blood, your body can have deficiency of platelets, blood cells that can help the blood to clot. This deficiency may make you easier to have excess bleeding such as bleeding in the gums, petechiae (bleeding under the skin that can appear as pinpoints, round spots on the skin surface) or frequent nosebleeds.
- Anemia, it can make you get tired faster and easier! CML and some treatments for it can put you at greater chance of developing deficiency of red blood cells.
- The excess production of blood cells in CML can accumulate in the spleen, causing enlarged spleen and making you full easier even though after eating a small meal. This may be followed with pain, particularly on the left side (below ribs).
- CML can lead to the excess production of white blood cells. But most of these cells are diseased cells – putting you at high risk of infection since your body defense system is poor in fighting against infection!
- At advanced stage, CML may lead to a life-threatening condition (death) if it is not successfully treated.
This information is only intended for general information. For more advice and guidance if you have any symptom that worries you, consult more with a doctor!