Blood testing

  • A full blood count is one of the main tests for CLL and the first step in reaching a diagnosis. A full blood count measures the number and appearance of red cells, white cells and platelets in the blood.
  • A smear of blood examined microscopically will show small, dark purple/blue leukaemia cells (Figure 3). As leukaemia cells break easily, they appear as ‘smudge cells’ (Figure 3). These cells are specific for CLL.

Figure 3        CLL cells and ‘smudge cells’

Courtesy of Becky Socha,

. Labels have been added by Leukaemia Care