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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia, Version 1.2017


Testing for WM

Medical history and physical exam

Blood tests

Part 2 lists tests doctors use to learn if

your symptoms or signs are caused by

WM or another similar disease.

Medical history and physical


Two basic tools of diagnosis are when your doctor

takes your medical history and does an exam of

your body. Your doctor will ask about your medical

history, which should include everything that has ever

happened to you, related to your health. Your doctor

will ask you about:



Health events in your life including surgeries,

accidents, and past illnesses



Recent sickness



Medications you are taking now (It is helpful

to keep a list of your meds. Include any

supplements and over-the-counter medicine

you are taking.)



Family history of disease such as cancer, heart

disease, or diabetes

When the doctor checks your body for signs of

disease, it is called a physical exam. Doctors often

perform a physical exam along with taking a medical

history. Your doctor will check your:



Eyes, ears, nose, and throat



Lungs, heart, and belly (abdomen)



Body by feeling and using pressure to see if

organs are of normal size, are soft or hard, or

cause pain when touched

Blood tests

Blood tests can be done for many reasons including

during a routine visit. The results will give the doctor

a picture of what is going on in your body. He or she

may learn about an unknown disease in the body

that has no symptoms, or check for disease like

cancer. Blood tests give your doctors information to

plan the next steps for other testing or treatment.

Blood tests for WM include:

Complete blood count with differential

One of the most common blood tests is the CBC







ount). The CBC is a measure

of the various types of cells found in the blood.

This test checks the number of white blood cells

(fight infection), red blood cells (carry oxygen), and

platelets (form blood clots). These numbers are then

compared to the normal range for those cells in a

healthy person who is about your age. Your blood

counts may be low if WM is present. They can also

be low for other health reasons.

Comprehensive metabolic panel

Chemicals in your blood come from your liver, bone,

and other organs. A comprehensive metabolic panel

often includes tests for up to 14 chemicals. The tests

show if the level of chemicals is too low or high.

Abnormal levels can be caused by cancer or other

health problems. These tests will allow your doctor to

assess if the kidneys and liver are functioning well.


If WM or another similar disease is suspected,

your blood will be tested for certain levels of

immunoglobulins. The immunoglobulin (or antibody)

found in WM is IgM. SPEP (








horesis), quantitative immunoglobulins, and

immunofixation can be used. Immunofixation helps

the proteins in your blood stand out when being