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

(Expert Access & Test Before Treat™) This is just a brief note to tell you about the important impact you had on my treatment for CLL. Last November, through the Expert Access program sponsored by the CLL Society, you were kind enough to review my medical records and chat