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Weill Cornell Cancer Center

Diagnosis

Physical examination and blood tests form the basis of the diagnosis of most hematologic cancers. In addition, depending on the cancer suspected, patients may have:

  • a biopsy of tissue in which cancer cells may be found, such as a lymph node or the bone marrow
  • a spinal tap to look for leukemia cells in the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes the brain and spinal cord
  • a chest x-ray to look for swollen lymph nodes or other signs of cancer in the chest (for leukemia and lymphoma)
  • for suspected multiple myeloma, patients may also have x-rays to check for broken or thinning bones and a urine test for a protein called the Bence Jones protein

Once a diagnosis of cancer has been made, doctors may order additional tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) scanning to determine the extent (stage) of cancer growth. . All of these services are available at the Weill Cornell Cancer Center.

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