When you find out that your child is suffering from a form of cancer known as AML (acute myeloid leukemia), the shock can be tremendous. And because of this shock and all of the emotions you will experience, it can be difficult to keep up with and process all of the different tests and procedures that will be in store for your child both before they begin their AML treatments and during the treatment process. Get to know more about some of these tests and procedures so that you can be better prepared to support and care for your child as they get the treatment they need to overcome their AML diagnosis.
Bone Marrow Biopsy and Assessment
One of the first procedures that your child will have after they have been diagnosed with AML is a bone marrow biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure in which material is extracted from the body to be analyzed in a laboratory setting.
For a bone marrow biopsy, your child will be numbed with a local anesthetic. It is also likely, because your child is young, that they will receive a sedative before the procedure begins to keep them calm and from moving around during the process. The doctor will insert a needle into your child's spine or possibly their hip and aspirate a small amount of bone marrow to be analyzed.
A bone marrow biopsy is a quick procedure and the assessment that is performed through laboratory analysis and evaluation will give your child's doctor a great deal of important information. This can determine your child's AML subtype, how far it has spread, and many other factors that will determine their future treatments.
PET and CT Scans
Throughout the treatment process, your child will need several scans, such as through SAH GLOBAL, to help further determine the extent of the cancer as well as whether or not their treatment is effective as well as how effective it is. These scans include PET (positron emission tomography) and CT (computerized tomography) scans.
These scans are similar in that they both provide highly accurate images of the inside of the body. However, a PET scan generally uses a radioactive contrast material to get more detail from the scan. In the case of cancer treatments (such as your child's AML), CT scans and PET scans are combined into a single scan.
This provides the most detailed scan possible of your child's body and can more easily identify cancer cells and determine a course of action. These scans may also be used after treatment is complete in recover followup to ensure that cancer has not recurred.
Now that you know a few of the tests and procedures that your child will need when they are being treated for AML, you can better prepare yourself and your child for what is to come.