Doctors need the results of various tests to determine if you have CLL or SLL. Getting a diagnosis can sometimes take a while.
It is important for your doctors to have as much information about your cancer as possible. This helps them to work out the stage of your cancer. The stage of the cancer will help your doctor decide which treatment is best for you.
At times, just about everyone will have to wait to have tests or to get the results. Many people begin to worry that the CLL & SLL will get worse during this time. CLL & SLL usually grows very slowly and this is not likely to happen. It always helps to ask your doctor or nurse how long your test results will take. If you have not heard anything a couple of weeks after your test, call your doctor's office or clinic to check if your results are back.
A CLL diagnosis is usually made from blood cell counts and a blood smear examination. Usually blood is taken from the arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.
Other tests you may have at diagnosis or before starting treatment to help you and your medical team determine the best treatment option for you. Some prognostic testing may be available only in specialized labs or may be performed only for research purposes.