Because Waldenström's is rare, it is often misdiagnosed. It important to be seen at – or consult with – a treatment center like ours that cares for many patients with this kind of cancer.
Your doctor may also conduct imaging studies (CT scans, X-rays, and PET scans) of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis to look for an enlarged spleen or lymph nodes, or abnormal retinal veins.
More and more, targeted therapies focus on specific molecular changes. Since 2012, we have been investigating genetic mutations of people with Waldenström's and found this information useful in predicting outcomes and in determining which treatments will be most effective.
You can have a precise "tumor profile" created that gives us information that may reveal genetic or chromosomal abnormalities of the plasma cells. We have found that patients' overall survival from the start of therapy is often based on highly over-expressed or under-expressed genes.
Because Waldenström's involves the bone marrow, it is considered to be a disease of the whole body. This means that there is no staging process. Still, certain diagnostic factors, such as age, levels of IgM, hemoglobin, and platelets can be predictive in terms of outcomes.
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