Blood Tests for Cancer - MyConciergeMD

Overview

Annual blood work is necessary for keeping your health in check. It is an effective way to protect and maximize your well-being. At MyoncieregMD we specialize in preventative medicine and early diagnosis including blood tests for cancer.

Routine blood tests, like a Complete Blood Count (CBC), can help physicians create a baseline for your overall health. Comparing the results for subsequent blood tests with the CBC can help doctors identify abnormalities and changes that may demand further health checkups. As such, blood tests allow you to learn about any health issues in the early stages and address them before they get worse.

Blood tests can help detect health-related problems like infections, high cholesterol levels, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies. Since it provides significant, valuable details, you may wonder whether blood work can detect cancer.

Besides determining overall health, certain blood-related chemicals and proteins can help healthcare providers diagnose cancer. Complete blood count and tumor markers are examples of blood work that can help identify and manage cancers. That said, lab tests alone are not sufficient for diagnosing cancer. Additional cancer diagnostic testing, like imaging tests, plays a crucial role in detecting abnormalities, leading to a cancer diagnosis, and helping to find appropriate cancer treatment plans.

Can You Detect Cancer with a Blood Test?

Blood work typically serves as a general health barometer, helping detect and manage different diseases. In addition, it can help diagnose specific types of cancer. For instance, a routine blood test can help detect leukemia, a type of cancer affecting the blood-forming tissues in the body.

We work with  In particular, a CBC test measures the number of various blood cells in an individual’s bloodstream. These typically include platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. An abnormal result can indicate leukemia. However, abnormal levels of blood cells can also be a sign of a benign inflammatory condition. Therefore, physicians usually opt for follow-up testing that helps to confirm or rule out the diagnosis.

A single blood test cannot accurately diagnose cancer, regardless of type. Cancer diagnosis requires complete evaluation, which may include a physical examination, going over the patient’s medical background and history, in addition to diagnostic testing. Performing several tests is crucial to confirm whether an individual has cancer or if the symptoms result from another health problem.

Diagnostic testing helps confirm the presence of a disease in the body or rule out a fake diagnosis. Similarly, laboratory tests and blood work are necessary for monitoring the disease process, helping physicians plan and evaluate treatment plans and their effectiveness.

In many cases, doctors may often order repeated testing as their patients’ condition changes with time. For instance, a blood sample collected may not be of good quality, or an abnormal test result may need confirmation.

While blood work procedures can serve as early detection tests, indicating the presence of tumor cells, they are not sufficient for diagnosis. Other diagnostic procedures for cancer include imaging, endoscopic examination, surgery, genetic testing, and tumor biopsy.

What Tests Are Done to Check for Cancer?

Certain chemicals can help doctors determine whether a person has cancer. Oncology uses the following tests to check for the presence of cancer cells.

What Tests Are Done to Check for Cancer

Blood Tests

Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test

Complete blood count, or CBC, is performed to measure the number of blood cells in an individual’s bloodstream.

It explicitly checks a blood sample for red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, CBC measures hemoglobin and hematocrit.

This blood work can detect various health conditions, including leukemia.

Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Test

Circulating Tumor Cell, or CTC test, is a blood test for monitoring metastatic prostate cancer, metastatic colorectal cancer, and metastatic breast cancer.

It is a diagnostic test for capturing, identifying, and counting the number of tumor cells circulating in a blood sample. Circulating tumor cells are typically cancer cells detached from solid tumors and circulate in the bloodstream.

Galleri Test

Lately, cancer research has found far more efficient bloodwork for detecting cancer, known as the Galleri Test. It typically involves cancer screening for multiple types of cancers instead of one.

Manu types of cancers tend to shed DNA in the blood. The cell-free or circulating tumor DNA typically enters your bloodstream when the cancer cells die.

The Galleri test is a blood work for detecting abnormal DNA  in the blood. The cells in our body release DNA that circulates in the blood. It picks up the differences between healthy and cancerous cells, confirming or ruling a cancer diagnosis.

Tumor Marker Tests

What Are Tumor Markers?

Cancer and benign conditions can cause certain substances to be produced in high quantities. These substances in the blood, stool, or urine are known as “tumor markers.”

Most tumor markers are proteins, though DNA changes and gene expression patterns may also serve as tumor markers at times. While they can guide doctors to diagnosis, tumor markers cannot diagnose cancer. Therefore, they are combined with other tests, like biopsies, to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

Some common tumor markers for cancer include CA-125 Test, Prostate-Specific Antigen Test, and Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA).

Blood Tests vs. Biopsy

Researchers suggest that biopsies may replace blood tests for cancer diagnosis soon. Blood tests involve lab analyses of blood cells to examine or measure cells, proteins, chemicals, and other substances in the blood. On the other hand, biopsy involves taking a tissue sample for examination under a microscope. This test examines the tissue to examine the cause of an individual’s symptoms, aiding the diagnosis of various conditions, including cancer.

What Cancers Are Detected by Blood Tests?

Different blood tests can help detect different types of cancers using tumor markers.

  • CA15-3/CA27.29 is a tumor marker for breast cancer
  • CA19-9 can be a tumor marker for bile duct, gastric, gallbladder, and pancreatic cancers
  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a tumor marker for live cancer
  • HE4 is a tumor marker for ovarian cancer
  • Neuron-Specific Enolase (NSE) is a tumor marker for lung cancer
  • Thyroglobulin and Calcitonin are tumor markers for thyroid cancer
  • Chromogranin A (CgA) is a tumor marker for neuroendocrine tumors
  • Beta-Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Beta-hCG) is a tumor marker for choriocarcinoma and germ cell tumors
  • Beta-2-microglobulin (B2M) is a tumor marker for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, some lymphomas, and multiple myeloma
  • Immunoglobins may serve as tumor markers for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma

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