CLL Testing & Imaging

There are multiple types of blood tests that you may encounter during your CLL journey. For the newly diagnosed, getting the appropriate testing and knowing what tests to have and not to have is critical.

The only way to definitively diagnose CLL is with a sophisticated test called flow cytometry that looks at the immune fingerprint of the cancerous clones. In CLL, this can almost always be done using the blood, but for SLL a lymph node biopsy may be necessary.

Bone marrow biopsies are rarely indicated as part of routine blood work-up for CLL/ SLL. Likewise, CT scans and PET scans are almost never needed at time of diagnosis.

Additionally, prior to beginning any treatment, the specific blood tests cited in CLL Society’s Test Before Treat™ guidelines should be followed.

Action Items for Testing

Confirm diagnosis.

Make certain that your diagnosis is confirmed with flow cytometry. If your healthcare team is recommending bone marrow biopsies and extensive imaging ask WHY and consider a 2nd opinion! Check out additional reading on this subject here.

Test Before Treat™

Never begin treatment for CLL without first having the appropriate tests to determine whether chemotherapy can possibly benefit you.  

Confirm diagnosis.

Make certain that your diagnosis is confirmed with flow cytometry. If your healthcare team is recommending bone marrow biopsies and extensive imaging ask WHY and consider a 2nd opinion! Check out additional reading on this subject here.

Test Before Treat™

Never begin treatment for CLL without first having the appropriate tests to determine whether chemotherapy can possibly benefit you.  

ADDITIONAL READING

Patient, Know Thyself Mark Hoffman is a long-time CLL patient advocate and facilitator of the CLL Society Patient & Caregiver Support Group in San Diego, CA. In this article from Cancer Health, Mark echoes the importance of the Test Before Treat™ campaign by sharing his story. When Mark was
At the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) 2020 conference, there was research on looking at the genome of CLL and how different genetic markers might have predictive and value. Dr. Brian Koffman, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of CLL Society, interviewed Dr. Adrian Wiestner, a senior investigator at
CLL Society On Demand Ed Forum: ASH 2020 Comes to You – Session 1: Encouraging Updates on Drugs in Development + the Sad State of Test Before Treat Recorded Thursday, February 4, 2021 https://youtu.be/U9f7OCdcJcs Continue to Session 2: CLL Treatments: Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, and Targeted Agents CLL Society Resources Download