• To Have Bone Marrow Biopsy or not?

    Asked by Cats4mamac on Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    To Have Bone Marrow Biopsy or not?

    I don't completely understand reason for bone marrow biopsy. Is it to diagnose if you have leukemia or to determine the type of leukemia you do have? I have to decide whether or not to have one & I'm terrified. I'm in convalescent care right now, recovering from having 4 blood clots in my right leg. A filter was placed in my vena cava at my neck to prevent & filter any clots that might travel to my lung after one had already made it there. While I was in hospital no mention was m
    ade of cancer so when I was told I needed to see a oncologist hematologist, I freaked! I saw the Dr who now wants to do the biopsy but I'm having a tough time getting straight answers at this point. I told her I wanted to wait, she said no longer than 3 months then called my older sister in Utah for help in convincing me to have it done ASAP & told her she didn't think I fully grasped the situation. How can you deal with something when a Dr won't give straight answers? I'm lost in Fresno!

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Sorry that you're having troubles with this. As far as not understanding, just keep asking questions until you get the answers that you understand. If you don't understand what is going on or what is next, ask the question again. The doctors work for us, you need to know what's going on. If you need to take someone with you to your doctors appointments that can help decipher what they are telling you.

      Now for the bone marrow biopsy, it's really not a big deal. Sounds much worse than it it. They lay you on your side and will give you a shot in the hip area to numb the area, as well as giving you either a shot or IV of a couple of other drugs to relax you and put you almost to sleep. They will put a syringe of sorts into your hip bone and take a sample. I had it done as well as countless other folks here on the site. Don't be scared of the test. It will show them if there is any activity that is abnormal in your bone marrow that is an indication of leukemia, lymphoma and several other types. So, yes, I think you need to do it if the doctors are asking for it. I wish you the best and hope you have a clean bone marrow test!

      over 1 year ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      My mother had leukemia and had the bone marrow biopsy. She was in the hospital and the blood test indicated leukemia. They needed the bone marrow biopsy to determine what type of leukemia she had. She was lucky that they were in clinical trials for Gleevec, which kept her alive for the last 10 years of her life.

      over 1 year ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar
      SueRae1

      Sending you hugs, healing vibes and prayers. I agree with Greg, keep asking questions until you get the answers you need and understand. Many Dr don't realize that med-speak is not understood those who are not in the profession. That just sort of start talking all technical, it's a habit. I know as an IT person I do the same with people not in my field, I just forget from time to time that what is crystal clear to me and my colleagues makes no sense to anyone else.

      I had a bone marrow biopsy to verify I did not have MDS, - it is painful, so make sure you get some percocet before and after it is done. The marrow has a lot of info about the state of your blood and how it is produced. It can also identify blood diseases other then leukemia

      over 1 year ago
    • ShirleyJZ's Avatar
      ShirleyJZ (Best Answer!)

      I wouldnt delay in having the biopsy. It gives he doctor detailed information on blood diseases and/or blood cancers. It is the only way they can positively diagnosis your condition. Over the past two years I have had 12 biopsies......you just do it. if you have low threshold to pain just ask for something beforehand or maybe Ativan to relax you. It's all over in about twenty minutes, no big deal and a crucial test for blood cancer diagnosis, along with a flow cytometry (another test run from the biopsy). without proper diagnosis you can't be given proper treatment.

      over 1 year ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      Please have the biopsy, I have done it myself and it is a very simple procedure! And they have to go inside your bones and gather some cells in order to type any cancer, and the type will determine treatment. Otherwise they are only guessing and they could be wrong, and don't you want your doctors to have as much information as possible in order to prescribe the correct treatment? I hope that by now you have decided to have the biopsy because I have some good advise for your regarding it. Please make sure that they knock you out entirely for it, that is what I did and it was very easy. I just fell asleep and woke up feeling great, and I was only a tiny bit sore from it and that went away in a few days. They like to use a local anesthesia only with bone biopsies because it is easier, because if you are knocked out they have to have an anesthesiologist present, but again insist on being put out, you are anxious about the procedure so it probably will be easy for your doctor to request this, and please insist on the Michael Jackson drug, I can't spell it but it is something like propothal? Anyway it is wonderful if used correctly because you really do feel great afterwards like nothing happened. Because the pain is severe when they go in to the bone and no local anesthesia can handle that, is that part of the reason that you are so scared? because of the pain? well it will be pain free if you are knocked out I can promise you that! And it only seems to take a few minutes. Take care and best wishes to you!!!!

      over 1 year ago
    • HelenR's Avatar
      HelenR

      I had 3 bone marrow biopsy's done in a row don't let that scare you I was awake for all 3 of them they do numb you in the area that they are going to do the test. I made jokes and talked with the nurses and the doctor the whole time. Guess I'm just a little crazy. I would have it done right away if nothing else to just easy you own mind as to what is going on. Just keep asking your doctor questions if you don't understand what is going on. It's your body and your health you have a right to be well informed to make the right decisions keep a positive attitude it dose help even if some doctors don't think it does.No one can fully understand how you feel or what is going through your mind unless they have gone through it. .

      over 1 year ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar
      LisaLathrop

      I was diagnosed with AML leukemia in 2008 and have had many BMBs. The first one was the worst but it was because I was at a hospital that did not specialize in blood cancers. It was in a hematology office done by a doctor who had very little knowledge of AML. When I got to my final destination of treatment (university of NE me center) I was extremely nervous...however they did NOT knock me out completely (neither did the hematology doc) and it was virtually pain free! It took less than 10 mins too. If your doctor did blood work, he should have mentioned "blast" cells...that is the original determining factor. Next step...biopsy. But make sure you have it done by an experienced professional who has many under his/her belt. They know how to get it done easily, quickly, accurately, and virtually pain free. Good luck to you...

      over 1 year ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      The others are right- you might not feel any pain at all with a local anesthesia only!
      I was suggesting being knocked out because I had to myself- I'm a wimp and I have never responded well to local anesthesia and it was explained to me that the pain when the needle goes into the bone isn't due to the doctors skill necessarily but due to how well the local worked on me- and locals don't work well on me at all! I have always had to have extra injections and still have felt too much pain to endure. And because you are already nervous about the procedure ( enough not to do it ) like I though that it would be best for you to be knocked out rather than take a chance of feeling pain. But having said that, honestly if you have responded well to local anesthesia in the past the others are probably right, you will be fine with just a local. It really is a simple procedure that only takes a few minutes. Take care and good luck to you!

      over 1 year ago
    • mamamonte's Avatar
      mamamonte

      Have you had blood work done? How is your platelet number? That is indicitive of possible leukemia. Have you had any biopsies done on lymph nodes? Another leukemia indicator. A bone marrow biopsy will be a definitive test for leukemia & type of leukemia, as it will identify b or t cell and philadelphia chromosone if present, it will also tell the % of leukemia in the bone marrow. It is an important test if your doctor is trying to determine leukemia and type of leukemia. My family member has undergone 7 biopsies to date,each tells us how she is responding to treatment. If you are worried about the discomfort, a good onocologist will premedicate you and medicate the area before doing the biopsy, if done right you will have some discomfort for a couple of days, but compared to the information an onocologist can obtain from this test is worth it. Good luck in making your decision.

      over 1 year ago
    • Taagbu's Avatar
      Taagbu

      They do the bone arrow biopsy to see if the cancer has spread to the marrow. This helps with the staging so they can then decide on treatment. I have had 4 done and they are not as bad as the horror stories I had heard. I did them all without sedation and the pain was bearable. Afterwards, it feels like you have a bruised tailbone.
      Hope this helps.

      over 1 year ago

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