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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Version 1.2017


Testing for ALL

Imaging tests

Imaging tests

Imaging tests take pictures of the inside of your body.

Imaging tests are not often used for ALL. However,

they may be useful to look for infections or to check

for signs that ALL has spread to the brain and spinal


Imaging tests are often easy to undergo. Before the

test, you may be asked to stop eating or drinking for

several hours. You also should remove any metal

objects that are on your body. For some imaging

tests, a contrast dye may be injected into your vein to

make the pictures clearer.

CT scan

CT (




omography) takes many pictures

of a body part from different angles using x-rays.

See Figure 8

. A computer combines all the pictures

to make one clear picture. A CT scan of your head

may be needed if you have symptoms that suggest

ALL might have spread to your brain and spinal cord.

Occasionally leukemia may grow outside of the bone

marrow - most commonly in lymph nodes. A CT scan

of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and/or pelvis can

be used to look for leukemia in these places. In some

cases, your doctor may also perform a CT to look for


Figure 8

CT scan machine

A CT machine is large and has a

tunnel in the middle. During the test,

you will lie on a table that moves

slowly through the tunnel.