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BCR ABL Test: Normal Range, Signs, Procedure And Result

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Plenty of diagnostic tests are available in the market today for various diseases and conditions. One such test known as the BCR-ABL test measures the levels of a certain protein in your blood. This article will discuss the normal range for the BCR-ABL test, the procedure, what condition it diagnoses, the timing, and the results.

What is a BCR-ABL Test?

BCR-ABL tests are used to measure the levels of a protein known as BCR-ABL in a person's blood. This protein is produced by a gene that is mutated in people with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). The test can help diagnose CML, monitor the disease during treatment, and check for signs that the disease is coming back after treatment has been completed.

What is The Normal Range And Timing For a BCR-ABL Test?

The normal range for the BCR-ABL test is 0-0.1%. A result that is above the normal range may be a sign of CML. The test is usually done as part of a complete blood count (CBC) and will be ordered by a doctor if they suspect that a person has CML.

The BCR-ABL gene is a normal part of the human genome. However, in some people, this gene can become mutated, which can lead to the development of certain blood disorders. The exact range of what is considered to be a "normal" BCR-ABL gene is not well-defined, as there is some variation among individuals. However, in general, a normal BCR-ABL gene should have less than 10% of its nucleotides changed from the wild-type sequence.

There is no specific timing for the BCR-ABL test, but it is typically done when a person first starts showing symptoms of CML. The test may also be repeated periodically during treatment to monitor the disease and check for signs of remission or relapse.

Signs You Might Need a BCR-ABL Test

If you have chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) or Ph-positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), your doctor will order a BCR-ABL test to find out if the cancer is still active. 

The following are signs that you might have these conditions:

Fever

A fever signifies your body is fighting an infection or illness. It is one of the core symptoms of certain blood disorders, including leukaemia. 

Fatigue

When your body is tired, it’s hard to focus or even think straight. You may feel like you can’t keep your eyes open; all you want to do is sleep. Fatigue is a common symptom of many conditions and diseases, such as anaemia, infections, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, sleep disorders, and unfortunately, CML and ALL. If you feel fatigued far too often, along with other symptoms, your doctor might order a BCR-ABL test.

Weight Loss

When you are following a strict diet and exercise regimen, weight loss is inevitable. However, if you have not changed your eating or exercise habits and are still losing weight rapidly, it might point toward either diabetes or CML. Unexplainable weight loss is a cause for concern and a doctor will recommend a BCR test just to confirm or rule it out.

Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition. It can cause social anxiety and interfere with daily activities. Treatments are available to help you manage the condition if you are suffering from excessive sweating. The BCR ABL test is one option that can be used to diagnose primary hyperhidrosis associated with CML or ALL. 

Joint Pain

Joint pain is a common symptom of many different diseases and conditions. It may also be a symptom of CML. The BCR-ABL test is a blood test that can help your doctor determine if you do have it and need prompt treatment.

What is The Procedure For a BCR-ABL Test?

The BCR-ABL test is a blood test used to detect the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome, which is associated with chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML). As mentioned above, the test is typically ordered when a person has symptoms suggestive of CML, such as fatigue, weight loss, and bone pain.

The procedure for the BCR-ABL test is fairly simple. A blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results of the test are typically available within a few days.

Another kind of testing requires a bone marrow sample. This is a more elaborate procedure but can be performed just as quickly as a blood test. To perform this test, an anaesthetic injection is inserted on the site the bone marrow sample will be extracted from. Then the doctor may use either a needle or may twist out a bone marrow sample. The former is known as aspiration and the latter is known as a biopsy.

As for preparation, there is no special preparation required for the BCR-ABL test apart from fasting for several hours before the test or what’s stated above. However, it is important to provide your healthcare provider with a complete medical history, including any medications you are taking. 

What Do The Test Results Mean?

The test results can help your doctor determine the best treatment for CML. Once the treatment has begun, 3 inferences can be drawn from this test:

  • If the BCR-ABL number is increasing, the treatment is ineffective.
  • If the BCR-ABL number decreases, the treatment is a success. 
  • If it remains unchanged, the disease is stable and will require further testing to see progress.

Conclusion

In closing, a BCR-ABL test is an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of leukaemia. It is a very sensitive test and can detect even small amounts of the BCR-ABL gene. The test can be used to monitor response to treatment and disease progression. If your doctor has recommended this test for you or if you suspect you may have CML, book an appointment with the nearest Metropolis Healthcare lab today. With thousands of laboratories spanning multiple continents, we are a big name in the field of medical diagnostics.

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