What do myelocytes in the blood mean and does this mean a type of cancer?
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Q:

What do myelocytes in the blood mean and does this mean a type of cancer?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the University of Virginia School of Medicine's Pathology Thread, myelocytes sometimes are found in peripheral blood in combination with a general increase in the number of white blood cells, a condition doctors call leukocytosis. This condition is related to many causes, including infection, inflammation, tissue damage, drugs, toxins, emotional stress, metabolic disturbances, blood disorders and some cancers.

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Full Answer

Doctors use various methods to determine the cause of myelocytes in the blood. The shape and size of the cells is important, as is how the cells react to different reagents, or stains. According to the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the presence of many different types of immature cells, such as myelocytes, promyelocytes and metamyelocytes, indicates a leukemoid reaction. This reaction may be due to malignancy, but also may result from stress, infection or the effects of corticosteroids or other drugs.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia is one form of cancer that results in an increased number of circulating myelocytes, usually accompanied by a large number of other immature cells and an increased platelet count, says MedlinePlus. Related to a genetic abnormality known as the Philadelphia chromosome, CML is a slowly progressing disease that people often survive with for many years. At first, symptoms are mild or nonexistent, but as the disease progresses, a swollen abdomen, tiredness, bruising, night sweats and fever appear. Treatment is aimed at controlling the protein made by the Philadelphia chromosome and, if necessary, decreasing the total white blood count.

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Related Questions

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    What are causes for myelocytes in blood?

    A:

    Leukemia can cause myelocytes in the blood. Cancereducation.com explains that blood containing an abnormally high number of white blood cells is often one of the first indications of leukemia. This occurs when the DNA in the person’s bone marrow mutates, and begins producing an abundance of myelocytes, which are abnormal, cancerous white blood cells. Doctors do not always understand why the bone marrow’s DNA changes, although exposure to radiation and organic solvents may be factors.

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    What is a monocyte blood test?

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    A monocyte blood test measures the number of monocytes, a type of white blood cell, in the blood. Doctors use the test to evaluate the function of the immune system and the bone marrow. It is also used to look for certain diseases, such as monocytic leukemia.

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    What does a low level of lymphocytes indicate?

    A:

    A low level of lymphocytes indicates that insufficient white blood cells are being made, cells are being destroyed, cells are caught in the lymph nodes or spleen, or any combination of these, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This condition, lymphocytopenia, is either inherited or acquired.

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    How do you read a blood test?

    A:

    The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shows normal ranges for the most common values detected on a blood test, including red blood cell count, white blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, hematocrit and mean corpuscular volume. The NHLBI also gives normal ranges for blood glucose levels and lipoproteins such as cholesterol. Abnormal results can indicate disease as well as issues with diet, menstrual cycle, physical activity levels, alcohol intake and medicines.

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