Published on March 15, 2016
Dr. Ryan Cassaday from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, USA discusses the common symptoms of ALL and methods used for diagnosing the disease. Symptoms are often non-specific: feeling tired, fever, aches, but they increase in persistence or severity over time. Cancerous blood cells can be detected in the blood stream through blood tests. A bone marrow sample will also be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
This programme has been supported by Pfizer, through an unrestricted educational grant to the Patient Empowerment Foundation
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Transcript | Symptoms and Diagnosis of ALL
When someone develops ALL the symptoms often are fairly non-specific. They can sometimes feel like they have the flu or tired, fevers, aches, things like that, things that you might not even think is worth going to the doctor for. But oftentimes, because of the persistence or their increasing severity people that have developed this will go to their local doctor, an emergency room or urgent care, and usually the tip-off that we suspect this disease is we see some of these cancerous blood cells floating around in the bloodstream in basic bloodwork. That’s typically the first clue that we have that something like this is going on. Then that suspicion is usually confirmed through a variety of tests done either on blood or a sample of bone marrow to confirm that there are too many of these cancerous cells in either the blood or the bone marrow that are identified by some of the specific signatures as being these lymphoblasts or these sort of immature immune cells that typically live in the blood in very, very small numbers.