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Leukemia Screening/Early Detection

Lab technician drawing blood from patient's arm
Chronic leukemia is often found by routine blood count checks.

No standard screening process exists for detecting early stage leukemia. Doctors often detect chronic leukemia during routine blood count checks done as part of a regular health check or for other reasons, such as those conducted when a person seeks employment, joins the military, is pregnant, or is about to undergo an operation. But many leukemias are not found until a person goes to the doctor because of the symptoms they are having. 

The best way to find leukemia early is to tell the doctor of any lasting symptoms, such as chronic infections, fever, bleeding or bruising problems, unexplained weight loss, tiredness, night sweats, bone pain, or shortness of breath, particularly if these symptoms do not go away in a few days. Close follow-up exams are important for people with known risks, such as cancer survivors who have been treated with certain cancer-killing drugs.