Diagnostic Tools For Detecting Leukemia In Children

Detecting leukemia early in children is critical for successful treatment.

Leukemia in children is highly curable if detected early. Here are important tools used for evaluating leukemia, a common type of cancer in children.

Cancer in children is rare but the good news is that most of them are highly curable provided they are detected early and managed in centers with expertise in treating children. Leukemia is one of the most common types of cancer in children and is highly curable. It is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Early detection of leukemia is critical in order to improve the chances of cure.

How leukemia can be detected early in children? Let’s discuss this with Dr Parinitha Reddy Gutha, Pediatric oncologist and Hematologist and Head of the Department of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology at American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad.

Symptoms of leukemia in children

According to Dr Parinitha, the symptoms of leukemia can be vague, non-specific and might vary depending on the type of leukemia. Some common symptoms of leukemia in children include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Fevers
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Bone pain or joint pain
  • Abdominal pain or swelling

“If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if the symptoms are persistent, it is important to consult a healthcare provider for further evaluation,” says the oncologist.

Diagnosis of leukemia in children

Further, Dr Parinitha talks about some of the important diagnostic tools for evaluating leukemia in children. Thes include:

Blood Tests To Detect Leukemia

Blood tests are one of the most important diagnostic tools for detecting leukemia in children. A complete blood picture (CBP) can help detect abnormalities in the number and type of blood cells. Children with leukemia often have low levels of red blood cells and platelets. While the white blood (WBC) cells can be low or high. A blood smear should be performed to examine the shape and size of the blood cells.

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

If the blood tests suggest that leukemia may be present, a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. This involves the removal of a small sample of bone marrow from the hip bone. The sample is examined under a microscope to determine if leukemia cells are present. This test will also help determine the type of leukemia and the genetic changes in the leukemia cells.

Genetic Testing In Leukemia Diagnosis

Genetic testing can help identify specific genetic mutations or abnormalities that may be present in leukemia cells. This information can be used to determine the type of leukemia and guide treatment decisions.

In conclusion, Dr Parinitha states, “Detecting leukemia early in children is critical for successful treatment. Persistent symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and easy bruising or bleeding should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Blood tests, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, genetic testing, and regular checkups are all important tools for evaluating leukemia in children. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk for leukemia, it is important to consult a healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance.”

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