Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is slow growing and may not cause signs and symptoms for many years. When they do occur, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding from the nose or the gums
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent infections
  • Numbness in your hands or feet
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hearing problems
  • Changes in vision
  • Confusion

Mayo Clinic doctors are experienced in diagnosing Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. They have access to the latest procedures and laboratory tools to diagnose the disease and understand your prognosis.

Tests and procedures used to diagnose Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia include:

  • Blood tests. Blood tests may reveal low numbers of healthy blood cells. Also, blood tests are used to detect the proteins produced by the cancer cells (immunoglobulin M, or IgM). Blood tests may also measure your organ function, which can tell your doctor whether the IgM proteins are affecting your organs, such as your kidneys and your liver.
  • Bone marrow biopsy. During a bone marrow biopsy your doctor uses a needle to extract some of your bone marrow from your hipbone. The sample is examined to look for cancer cells. If any are detected, advanced laboratory analysis can help doctors understand the cancer cells' characteristics, including their genetic mutations.
  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests can help your doctor determine whether cancer has spread to other areas of your body. Imaging tests may include computerized tomography (CT) scans or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
Aug. 21, 2015