What are the different types of Lab test to detect cancer?


If one is suspected of Cancer, they may be asked for a number of blood tests to diagnose the disease. There are many cancer blood tests involved apart from the analysis of your urine, blood or the biopsy of any suspected area to confirm or verify the disease.

Though your doctor asks you for a number of laboratory tests to diagnose an ailment like cancer, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are having it, as these tests are necessary to completely confirm the disease.

These laboratory test samples are collected to analyze the possibility of any cancer symptoms in the patient. These samples may show information regarding the cancer cells, proteins or other substances that may be made by cancer. CBC test can also give the doctor a know-how of your organ's functioning and if they are affected by cancer.

The list of tests to determine the possibility of Cancer includes:

  1. CBC (Complete Blood Count): It helps in determining the existence of various kinds of blood cells in the blood sample. If abnormal blood cells or too many blood cells are detected in the sample, it can usher the symptom of blood cancers. A bone marrow biopsy helps in confirming the diagnosis of blood cancer.

  2. Blood Protein Testing: The Electrophoresis test can help in detecting the existence of various abnormal immune system proteins like immunoglobulin’s that can increase in people having multiple myeloma. 

  3. Tumor Marker Test: Tumor markers are chemicals that are made by tumor cells in the blood. However, these cells can also be produced by normal cells in the body and increase their quantity levels in the blood due to noncancerous conditions. Thus, this test isn't enough to determine the diagnosis and needs the confirmation by other blood tests as well. 

  4. Circulating Tumor Cells: This is one of the recent blood test used to diagnose cancerous conditions in the patient and is approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It helps in detecting cells that have broken away from the original cancer site/host and floats about in the bloodstream. It is not necessarily used in a clinical lab setting.

These results help in determining the diagnosis of cancer, but sometimes, the reports come out abnormal due to other noncancerous conditions and rarely, the blood reports may be normal while the person may have cancer. Apart from these, the doctor asks for urine tests and biopsy of the suspected area to get a clear picture.

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